By Sam Bush

At last, a Phillies player has taken the team to task for keeping him in the minors so long that it will cost him free agency money.

Exactly what the cheapskate Phillies did with Ryan Howard, who wasn’t called up until he was 27!

Third baseman Maikel Franco has filed an official grievance alleging that the team unnecessarily kept him in the minor leagues to limit his service time and delay his future free agency.

The Phillies had no comment on the grievance, which was first reported by Yahoo! Sports. National League Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant filed a similar grievance against the Chicago Cubs, Yahoo! reported.

Franco, 23, began last season in Triple A. He was promoted to the majors on May 15 and finished the season with 170 days of service time, two short of a full season. Players are eligible for free agency, and the potential riches that go with it, after they accrue six years of service time. Franco won’t be a free agent until after the 2021 season. Had he reached 172 days of service time in 2015, he would have been eligible for free agency after the 2020 season. Franco clearly believes the Phillies did not operate in good faith by keeping him in the minors until May 15.

Grievances over service time are not uncommon and can typically be resolved out of court. If this one can’t be, it will proceed to an arbitration panel at a later date.

Franco hit .280 with 14 homers and 50 RBIs in 80 games for the Phillies in 2015. He missed significant time in the second half of the season because of a broken left wrist and that cost him a run at the Rookie of the Year award.

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