Phillies add ex-Mariner Franklin to rotation

Updated: January 5, 2006, 7:52 PM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider

Right-handed pitcher Ryan Franklin has agreed to terms on a one-year, guaranteed $2.6 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Starting Pitcher
Philadelphia Phillies

Profile
2005 SEASON STATISTICS
GM W L BB K ERA
32 8 15 62 93 5.10

The deal includes unspecified incentive bonuses based on innings and games pitched.

Franklin, 32, became a free agent when Seattle declined to offer him a contract by the Dec. 20 deadline. The Washington Nationals were among the other clubs to have expressed an interest in him.

"I don't want to say I wore out my welcome in Seattle, but I was ready to move on," Franklin said.

Franklin joins Brett Myers, Jon Lieber and Cory Lidle in the Philadelphia rotation. The Phillies have also explored the option of moving reliever Ryan Madson to the rotation. Gavin Floyd, Robinson Tejeda and Eude Brito could also compete for starting spots in spring training, and the Phillies expect Randy Wolf to return from reconstructive elbow surgery by midseason.

Franklin is 35-50 with a 4.34 ERA in six seasons with Seattle. He has a 12-31 record over the past two seasons, but suffered from the worst run support in the major-leagues during that span.

The Phillies were attracted to Franklin in part by his durability. He has averaged 31 starts and 201 innings over the past three seasons.

"He's a competitor who pitches deep into ballgames and has been a consistent starter in the American League for the last few years," Phillies general manager Pat Gillick said. "His innings show that he's been durable and he definitely adds depth to our rotation."

Mike McCann of Franklin-Frye-McCann, the agency that represents Franklin, said the pitcher turned down a more lucrative contract from another unspecified club because Gillick and manager Charlie Manuel appealed to him personally to sign with the Phillies.

"There was more money available somewhere else, but this was more about being the right fit,'' McCann said. "Charlie Manuel and Pat Gillick made Ryan feel special and wanted. Ryan's ecstatic about getting a fresh start with a great organization.''

Last year Franklin received a 10-day suspension for violating baseball's steroid policy. He told reporters that he used a supplement he bought at a nutrition store, and that he had "no idea'' how he tested positive.

"When they called me and told me that my test came back positive, I was like, 'You're joking, right?'" he said. "That was it. It's a weird deal, man."

Franklin was suspended Aug. 2-11 for violating baseball's steroids policy. "I still say to this day I never, ever, ever used any of that stuff and I never will," he said.

Gillick was willing to take a chance on Franklin partly because of their history together in Seattle. Gillick was in charge of the Mariners when Franklin was starting his big league career and believes his newest acquisition when he says he's not a steroid user.

"I feel comfortable with his explanation," Gillick said.

Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for ESPN Insider. His book "License To Deal" has been published by Rodale. Click here to order a copy. Jerry can be reached via e-mail.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jerry Crasnick | email

ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer