F is for Franklin
That rousing round of indifference you hear across the Delaware Valley (and parts elsewhere belonging in heart and mind to the Phillies' City-State) is the sub-tepid reaction to Pat Gillick signing starting pitcher Ryan Franklin. A quick look at Franklin's career suggests that, at $2.6 million for 2006, this righthander might as well be any one of his namesakes. You choose: either the token black kid from the Peanuts comic strip, the unsigned hard-core band from Philadelphia in the late 90s, the token purple (black) hipster on Sesame Street in 1971, the first American, or G.O.B.'s token black ventriliquist dummy from season two of Arrested Development. Obviously, this boat is already a bit crowded. No offense to Ry-Frank, but his only distinction seems to be that he is perhaps the worst pitcher ever to allegedly take steroids.
The 33-year-old was non-tendered by the Seattle Mariners after giving up too many home runs the past three years (95!) in a pitcher's park. Naturally, a team with one of the most hitter-friendly parks in the NL is a logical landing spot for the former 23rd round selection (in 1992, no less). However, since the Phils are moving their left field fences back a few feet for '06, this is entirely a moot point. Also, the Phils are planning on raising the mound ten feet every five games so Franklin's K numbers go up. Finally, CL has just learned that first base at CBP will be moved to 105 feet at the top of every inning in an effort to get Franklin's WHIP under 1.4.
Franklin had much better numbers in 2001 and 2002 when he was used out of the pen (in his late 20s, yes) as a middle reliever in 40 games each season. Since $2.6 mill is a lot to pay a guy who hasn't pitched in relief in 3 years to join a bullpen already swelling with average arms, we are going to guess this means Cory Lidle has officially been promoted to the number 3 slot in the rotation.
With less putrid options out there (Wade Miller) or minor leaguers invited to make the club (Floyd, Hamels, Tejeda), this signing gets a failing grade.