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Philadelphia Phillies' trade could create Maikel Franco opportunity

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This season's Winter Meetings were preceded by a major free agent signing (Robinson Cano) and a blockbuster deal (Prince Fielder). While the Philadelphia Phillies didn't generate big news after the regular season, they have made some quiet moves which have slightly improved their 2014 roster. Now, general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. seems primed to seek a significant trade.

Domonic Brown is the most tradable commodity on Ryne Sandberg's team. He's young (26), is coming off a productive year and isn't eligible to be a free agent until 2018.

Maikel Franco (21) appears to be a legitimate right-handed power-hitting third baseman. Cody Asche, the Phillies' resident hot corner man, is athletic enough to learn how to play left field. Plus, the left-handed prospect could platoon with Darin 'Babe' Ruf in Brown's spot.

Dealing 'Dom' is far from certain. But, makes sense on many levels.

While the Phillies highly-hyped outfielder looks to be a decent offensive player, his defensive abilities are very limited. He also has a long history (dating back to the minor leagues) of not being able to remain healthy.

Amaro could include Brown in some type of package to obtain a solid starting pitcher, which would subsequently rebalance the lineup so that it doesn't remain left-handed heavy. Plus, the inclusion of Franco on the major league team would help to counter the 'old men' atmosphere that has been lingering above Citizens Bank Park for the past few seasons.

The risk of putting this scenario into play involves Franco (who hasn't played above the Double-A level) delivering on his potential starting in the spring. But, chances must be taken in order for playoff progress to be made.

Follow Sean by clicking on the word 'Subscribe' aside of his photo. Connect with him through social media via Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and read his blog Insight.

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