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Phillies avoid arbitration with Knapp (source)

Decisions to be made on longtime Phils Hernández, Franco
@ToddZolecki
December 2, 2019

PHILADELPHIA -- While the Phillies agreed to a one-year deal worth $710,00 with backup catcher Andrew Knapp, according to a source, it could be the end of an era for longtime Phils second baseman César Hernández and third baseman Maikel Franco, as the organization could cut ties with both players

PHILADELPHIA -- While the Phillies agreed to a one-year deal worth $710,00 with backup catcher Andrew Knapp, according to a source, it could be the end of an era for longtime Phils second baseman César Hernández and third baseman Maikel Franco, as the organization could cut ties with both players by Monday's non-tender deadline.

The Phillies must offer contracts to their players eligible for salary arbitration before Monday’s 8 p.m. ET deadline or they become free agents. Hernández and Franco might not be offered contracts as the Phillies try to upgrade their infield.

Knapp, 28, slashed .213/.318/.324 in 160 plate appearances last season, with a .518 OPS in 81 plate appearances before the All-Star break and a .760 OPS in 79 plate appearances after it.

Hernández, 29, slashed .266/.345/.385 with a 93 OPS+ over the past two seasons. Franco, 27, slashed .247/.299/.427 with an 89 OPS+ over the past four seasons. MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reported recently that the Phillies are interested in free-agent shortstop Didi Gregorius. If the Phillies sign Gregorius, they could move Jean Segura to second base.

Or the Phillies could sign a free-agent third baseman like Mike Moustakas, which would allow them to keep Segura at shortstop and move Scott Kingery to second base.

Besides Hernández and Franco, the Phillies have six other players eligible for salary arbitration. Right-handers Zach Eflin, Héctor Neris and Vince Velasquez, left-handers José Álvarez and Adam Morgan and catcher J.T. Realmuto remain eligible for salary arbitration. They are expected to be offered contracts. The Phillies hope to sign Realmuto to a multiyear extension at some point.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .