Questions about whether the Phillies would bring back Maikel Franco and Nick Pivetta for September were answered when the Phillies recalled both players from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Both players had to wait until past the September 1st date to expand rosters because they had been optioned to Triple-A late in August and were not eligible to return for 10 days.
The Phillies also recalled outfielder Jose Pirela, who they had acquired from the San Diego Padres for cash considerations in late July. The 29-year old had a line of 4-18-.281/.326/.455 in 33 games at Lehigh Valley where he had been assigned after being added from San Diego. Pirela went 0-for-5 in two games with the Padres this season, but is a career .258 hitter in 291 MLB games.
Pivetta and Franco had struggled with the Phillies this season and had been optioned to Lehigh Valley. Earlier in the year, Pivetta had been dropped from the rotation and pitched out of the bullpen for the Phillies, but after struggling in relief, was optioned out.
Pivetta was 4-6 with a 5.24 ERA in 26 games, 13 as a starter. Over three seasons, the 26-year old is 19-30 with a 5.33 ERA and has made 71 starts and 14 relief appearances with the Phillies. Pivetta pitched well in his two stints with Lehigh Valley this season, going 5-1, 3.07 in six starts and three relief appearances.
The 27-year old Franco had been with the Phillies continuously since 2015 after making his major league debut on September 2, 2014. Franco had 71 home runs with the Phillies over the past three seasons, but his average dipped to just .236 with the Phillies and they optioned him to Lehigh Valley only to recall him when Bryce Harper went on paternity leave in August. When Harper returned, Franco was again sent to Lehigh Valley.
Franco signed a one-year, $5.25-million contract during the offseason, avoiding arbitration. He is eligible for arbitration for the second time this offseason, prompting speculation that the Phillies may non-tender him rather than giving him a raise in salary. If he is non-tendered, the Phillies could still choose to re-sign him at a lower price.
Pivetta is not yet eligible for arbitration and made $590-thousand this season with the Phillies.