A look back at: Wayne Franklin

Wayne Franklin has played a large role in the York Revolution’s two-year history.

The former major leaguer started the first game in Revs history. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in wins (20). And he also leads York in all-time defections — leaving once in 2007 for Taiwan before returning; and pulling the same trick in 2008 with Mexico before coming back to the White Rose City once again.

It’s also easy to forget that Franklin was the first guy who York signed in the off-season leading up to the ’08 season (Does anyone remember the idea of turning Franklin into a closer?). And he certainly put together one of the more perplexing seasons for the Revs this past year.

Consider the numbers: Franklin was third in the entire Atlantic League in walks (73) and had a 5.73 ERA for the season. But somehow he managed to record a 12-5 record, good for the team-high in wins, and pitch some incredible games down the stretch — like a six-inning, three-earned-run gem at Newark that gave York a serious jolt on the way to the playoffs.

Franklin also had a 7-1 record with a 4.56 ERA from the beginning of August onward, which continued a trend from the ’07 season in which he gets better as the year goes on. The Delaware native was also a much better option in the bullpen in ’08 — recording a 4.64 ERA in 17 appearances — while he racked up a 5.96 ERA in 19 starts in the rotation.

So here’s the big question: If you’re York, do you bring Franklin back for another year (assuming he’s willing to return)? The lefty will be 35 on March 9 and after two years pitching in the Atlantic League, it’s probably safe to assume a journey back to affiliated ball is out of the question.

But on the other side of the argument, Franklin always seems to come up big in big spots and he’s also expressed his admiration for playing baseball in York and under manager Chris Hoiles. Plus, as long as the Revs aren’t counting on Franklin as a full-time starter, he seems to be a pretty solid option as a situational reliever/spot starter.

This predicament also ties in with the debate that every Atlantic League team will go through this off-season — how many players from last year’s team do you bring back? Historically, seven to 12 players from each team are usually retained, and York’s decision to bring back Franklin could be a large choice in the direction of the franchise — whether to depend on known commodities or move in a new direction.

It’s a philosophy that the Revs’ brass will have to think long and hard on as the winter goes on.

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