Mariners Could Deal Infielder Before Opening Day

Following the Mariners' signing of Robinson Cano, many speculated that Nick Franklin or Brad Miller would be displaced by the move. Several teams reportedly had interest in Franklin at the time, but there hasn't been too much chatter surrounding him in the two months since. That could change, as ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin hears from industry sources that Seattle is likely to move Franklin or Miller prior to Opening Day, with Franklin being the more likely candidate.

While Franklin played shortstop more frequently than second base throughout the minors, most evaluators seem to feel that Miller is better equipped, from a defensive standpoint, to handle shortstop in Seattle going forward. As such, Franklin, who will turn 23 on March 2, finds himself without a clear role on the team (Kyle Seager is in at third base, not that Franklin has experience at the hot corner anyhow).

Franklin got off to a hot start upon being called up from Triple-A Tacoma last season, slashing .270/.337/.453 with six homers in 43 games (175 plate appearances) in the season's first half. However, following the All-Star break, Franklin slumped to a .194/.280/.333 batting line in 243 PAs. The result was a sub-par .225/.303/.382 triple-slash line. Still, Franklin is entering just his age-23 season and is no stranger to appearing on Top 100 prospect lists, having multiple appearances on those produced by Baseball America, MLB.com, ESPN's Keith Law and Baseball Prospectus.

As Rubin notes in his piece, some teams could still view Franklin as an option at shortstop, meaning any team with a middle infield deficiency could have interest. Rubin points out that Franklin would be an upgrade over Ruben Tejada for the Mets, though he stops short of concretely citing interest on the Mets' behalf.

Of course, Rubin's report leaves open the possibility that the Mariners could deal Miller instead, who slashed .265/.318/.418 with eight homers and five steals as a 23-year-old rookie for Seattle in 2013. Both players would be controllable through the 2019 season, making them attractive long-term assets for teams with middle infield needs. The Mariners have been said to desire an additional power bat for their lineup as well as rotation help, and they may not wish to pay free-agent prices to land both. A trade of Miller or Franklin would certainly seem an alternative route to addressing one of those needs, while the addition of a free agent such as Ervin Santana, Nelson Cruz or Kendrys Morales could fill the second.


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198 Comments on "Mariners Could Deal Infielder Before Opening Day"


Member
JaysFan1996
1 year 4 months ago

Blue Jays please.

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Tyler James Israel
1 year 4 months ago

We could take Colby off your hands

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The_Unnatural
1 year 4 months ago

Yeah, 6 years of Franklin for 1 of Rasmus. A year the M’s won’t sniff the post season. Sounds fair.

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jrob23
1 year 4 months ago

Why wouldn’t the Ms compete after signing Cano, getting Rasmus..and emergence of young pitchers?

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Ron Loreski
1 year 4 months ago

Assuming the young pitchers actually emerge.

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Dbacksfan44
1 year 4 months ago

Their offense still isn’t that great

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The_Unnatural
1 year 4 months ago

Because everything would have to break right for the M’s to compete, including the A’s or Rangers stumbling. 3/5 of their rotation is a question mark, plus Kuma is injured and who knows if it will have any lingering effects. Ackley might be a bust. Smoak is mediocre – at best. Miller/Franklin are babies. The outfield is largely a mess. The ‘pen was awful last season and will have to rely on rookies like Carson Smith to pan out for it to be any good.

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docmilo5
1 year 4 months ago

Ackley OPSd over .800 after HoJo got his mitts on him in Tacoma. Smoak OPSs over .800. Just don’t let him bat right handed. Miller and Franklin are baseball rats. Have you heard them talk? These kids know the game and have talent. The pen has Rodney in the back now and Farquhar was outstanding down the stretch. The M’s have a bunch of vets in camp on NRI’s like Minor, Rogers, Ramirez and Palmer. The bullpen will be better.

Kuma may miss a week or two to start the season. Erasmo had an awesome winter and Paxton and Walker are ready. Their pitching will be fine.

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The_Unnatural
1 year 4 months ago

Ackley’s big turn around, .800 OPS!! was just a fluke August. The other 2 months in the 2nd half he OPS’d around .640. Smoak is mediocre and was a better RHH the two previous season; he doesn’t need to be platooned – at least not until we have a clearer picture. Being a “baseball rat” doesn’t mean anything. It didn’t keep Franklin from swinging away like a blind man last season. Miller isn’t much of a threat, just a decent-hitting SS. The ‘pen also lost one of it’s better pitchers in Perez. NRIs don’t get me excited. Kuma’s finger could be stiff or sore and could affect how he pitches. Erasmo needs to remember how to throw strikes. Paxton and Walker MIGHT be ready.

Even if half those things you mentioned somehow turn out favorably for the M’s, they’re maybe — maybe — the third best team in the AL West.

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jrob23
1 year 4 months ago

I agree it would be difficult but Hart and Cano (and Rasmus if there was a deal) is not too shabby middle of the order, add in young promising Miller, Zunino and Seager and they will get by. Not world beaters but certainly improved. If Walker and Paxton are even close to what people think they can be they’d have 4 very strong in their SP with a good bullpen.
I am not sure Angels have the pitching, that the As weren’t just playing way over their heads last season, and that the Rangers have the pitching.
This is of course assuming they got Rasmus as he might not be all that special but he could get you twenty plus homers and provide some protection in the lineup. 85-90 wins is a real possibility imho. BTW I’m a Red Sox fan so I have no horse in this race. Just basing it on how good I think your young pitching is and underrated Zunino and Miller are.

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The_Unnatural
1 year 4 months ago

Too many ifs. They aren’t the A’s. Trading Franklin for Rasmus is tantamount to throwing him away.

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jrob23
1 year 4 months ago

LOL, I am trying to be optimistic as I recently moved to Seattle area and plan to adopt the Ms and see some games. You aren’t making it easy!

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Gop5
1 year 4 months ago

I agree, the Mariners are my team too. But, they are still a couple of players away. As much I hate to say it, I think they need to sign Cruz, and they could still use a pitcher. It’s not that I like Cruz, we just need someone to protect Cano now, and he is really the only option.

If were talking about Rasmus…the only deal I would do with Toronto would be adding a bigger package and getting Bautista. Not sure what that would take though, since it’s probably too much. Otherwise, you can do better with Franklin. Maybe send Franklin and another piece for Gardner…

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jrob23
1 year 4 months ago

if Franklin is so good why can’t he start over Miller or push Seager? I am not sure the Ms can expect much in return for him except a high priced soon to be FA. I like the idea of Lagares. I imagine there is some talk going on about that as it just makes too much sense for both sides.

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JaysFan1996
1 year 4 months ago

I wouldn’t mind Franklin for Rasmus

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docmilo5
1 year 4 months ago

I’m sure you wouldn’t. I would rather stash Franklin in AAA for a year and save him for a bigger deal. When he’s hitting .300 in Tacoma with 25 homers, he’s going to be a big part of something better than Rasmus. Rasmus has more sub .700 OPS years in the last three years than .800+ OPS years. He’s not a guarantee.

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Seamaholic
1 year 4 months ago

The M’s management wouldn’t. Rasmus only has a year of control left.

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Gop5
1 year 4 months ago

I would do it we could add a few players and take Bautista off your hands :)

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Schnitzer's Marble Rye
1 year 4 months ago

I’m sure Sandy Alderson is exploring SS upgrades…but I don’t hate Tejada entirely and he could have somewhat of a bounce back year, but to expect him to be a .700+ OPS 2-3+ WAR SS is probably foolish, especially if he is going to play 150 games and get lots of AB’s vs. RHP. Perhaps Boras will crack and the Mets can sign Stephen Drew for closer to their price, and utilize Drew’s better #’s vs LHP, and Tejada’s vs RHP.

I think ideally though, and I believe I speak for all Mets fans, what we’d really love to see is Wilmer Flores prove he can play SS, rake at the MLB level like he has at all other levels, and just straight up win the full time starting job.

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MarinerMadHouse
1 year 4 months ago

Franklin to the Mets for Juan Lagares?

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Schnitzer's Marble Rye
1 year 4 months ago

Do the Mariners need OF’s?

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seajtl
1 year 4 months ago

Yes, especially a CF

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GeronimoJansen
1 year 4 months ago

Wait a week into the season when Brian Roberts goes on the DL. Trade Franklin for Brett Gardner or….. Ichiro.

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Riaaaaaa
1 year 4 months ago

Ichiro has almost no value and no one would want to take on his salary.

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GeronimoJansen
1 year 4 months ago

Those teams could easily split $6.5 mil

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Riaaaaaa
1 year 4 months ago

But why would they for someone who really shouldn’t be starting everyday?

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docmilo5
1 year 4 months ago

Is Suzuki going to the bullpen this year? I would rather see the M’s move Franklin + in a Kemp deal if he’s healthy than for Gardner. The M’s need RH power not LH slap hitters. Pass on Gardner and his injury prone quick twitch muscles.

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GeronimoJansen
1 year 4 months ago

Kemp’s not going anywhere. Longtime Mariners fit Andre Ethier, however….

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docmilo5
1 year 4 months ago

No Kemp, no big deal. Keep him and Either and their contracts.

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Stevil
1 year 4 months ago

Don’t bank on the M’s chasing left handers–especially lefties that can’t hit LHP.

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Seamaholic
1 year 4 months ago

Meh. Another lefty hitter and bad fielder, who makes WAY too much. Not getting Franklin for that.

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Gop5
1 year 4 months ago

No way. Maybe a few years ago, but there’s no way that happens now. Ethier would be better suited for someone like the Orioles.

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Ron Loreski
1 year 4 months ago

No they need a corner OF/1B/DH type.

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themsfan
1 year 4 months ago

Haha. I don’t think we have enough with Hart, LoMo, Smoak, and not to mention Monerto and Choi and Peterson

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Stevil
1 year 4 months ago

No. They need more 1B/DH types. They only have 3 right now, so they could use a couple more.

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gmantacoma
1 year 4 months ago

I’d give you a ‘like’ Stevil, but so many people won’t and don’t understand.

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seajtl
1 year 4 months ago

Hmm, a deal around those two players might work for both teams if the Mets actually think Franklin can handle SS. Mariners don’t really have a true CF so Lagares could makes sense.

Member
Schnitzer's Marble Rye
1 year 4 months ago

If Franklin is someone the Mets really like and think could be a franchise-type SS, that’d be a tough deal to pass up. I love Lagares’ glove, the dude is sick out in CF, and although he could improve with the bat (hopefully he does), not sure anyone expects him to become anything particularly special offensively.

The other problem for the Mets would be then you’re filling one hole and creating another. Chris Young/Granderson/and EY JR in OF? Eh, EY JR should be a bench player.

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Ron Loreski
1 year 4 months ago

They could sign Cruz.

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Penn Parallax
1 year 4 months ago

Mariners don’t have a legitimate outfielder, period.

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The_Unnatural
1 year 4 months ago

When Saunders is healthy, he’s a legitimate outfielder. After he recovered from his shoulder injury he OPS’d close to .800.

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Penn Parallax
1 year 4 months ago

Saunders has been a disappointment again and again. I used to have a lot of hope for him, but it’s been five years and he hasn’t developed. He’s had a few flashes here and there but he’s not a starting OF on a good team.

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docmilo5
1 year 4 months ago

Edgar Martinez OPS .619 at age 26. Age 27 was his first year over .800. Some people just start slower. If Saunders can put up an .800 OPS that’s a valuable OFer.

Ackley OPS’d over .800 in the 2nd have after HoJo got his hands on him in Tacoma where Ackley OPSd over .900.

HoJo is going to square these kids away after being messed with by Wedge. I loved the Brendon Ryan quote the other day that the M’s told him to hit for power. LOL

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Edgar4evar
1 year 4 months ago

Saunders was really good to start the year, ran into a wall and was bad, got better and was really good again. Now is a very bad time to give up on him.

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The_Unnatural
1 year 4 months ago

He has developed. If you take out the 2 months he was forced to play injured, because the M’s had no OF depth, he was one of the M’s best hitters last season. And despite the numbers, he’s a decent fielder, especially in a corner. One of the writers at SSI goes to M’s a lot of M’s games and thinks his “defensive metrics” suffered last season because he was being positioned too shallow and had guys like Bazooka Joe and Harang tossing meatballs, so he was constantly sprinting for the warning track trying snag deep flies. He has scouting reports to back up his assessment.

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dodgerskingsfan
1 year 4 months ago

Either for franklin

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docmilo5
1 year 4 months ago

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

He’s expesive and no better than Saunders now. Saunders is getting to his prime and getting better, Either is getting older and starting to decline. 12 homers?

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dodgerskingsfan
1 year 4 months ago

Dude needs a change of scenery. Dodgers need 2b man. Since guerrero isnt transitioning well.

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docmilo5
1 year 4 months ago

Sure, Dude can go to the Marlins. The M’s have an entire infield that hits left handed. They don’t need any left handed dudes. Hart, Zunino, Romero and Buck are going to have to carry the load vs lefties.

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dodgerskingsfan
1 year 4 months ago

He aint going to.the marlins

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docmilo5
1 year 4 months ago

12 homers and a .783 OPS largely driven by OBP and he’s owed pretty much $18 mill a year for 4 years? He’s likely not going anywhere.

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Seamaholic
1 year 4 months ago

Literally every one who has seen him play says Franklin can’t play SS. Mets would be better off with what they have, although I could maybe see them do a musical chair thing with 2B and ship their current guy to Toronto.

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The_Unnatural
1 year 4 months ago

I’d do that. Too bad it won’t happen. Z will end up trading Franklin for a mediocre relief pitcher and a toolsy prospect that won’t pan out.

Member
The_Unnatural
1 year 4 months ago

You know it’s true.

Member
Alomar's McCain Punch
1 year 4 months ago

Perfect. The Jays have lots of mediocre relievers and toolsy prospects that won’t pan out. How about Brett Cecil and Anthony Gose?

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The_Unnatural
1 year 4 months ago

It’s probably in the works as we speak.

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Penn Parallax
1 year 4 months ago

Yup. Exactly.

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docmilo5
1 year 4 months ago

And?

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jho
1 year 4 months ago

I would not want Franklin for Lagares…

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Eric
1 year 4 months ago

Trading Franklin seems like the obvious route, but what player(s) would interested teams be willing to part with to acquire the young middle infielder?

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Stevil
1 year 4 months ago

It shouldn’t be obvious. But if they could land someone like Jennings from Tampa, I’d be on board.

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Jake13
1 year 4 months ago

Jennings is a very good young player, I don’t see why Tampa Bay would give him up for an unproven player and leave a hole in their OF

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Stevil
1 year 4 months ago

They wouldn’t give him up for just one prospect. I wasn’t suggesting they could swap players straight across. But they have Kevin Kiermaier coming up fast. He was a late call-up last season and there’s a good chance he’ll be back up fairly soon–if not out of spring. He’s the better center fielder of the two.

Tampa would likely move Jennings to left when Kiermaier settles in, though they have options. Point is, they could strengthen their middle infield depth considerably and probably net a decent Catching prospect, such as Hicks, at the same time. A trade would make some sense for Tampa.

If it were my call, I’d probably keep Jennings. But as a Mariner fan, it’s fun to consummate plans to acquire talent in brutal areas of need. The M’s really need outfield defense as much as they do offense.

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Phillyfan425
1 year 4 months ago

Kyle Kendrick, John Mayberry Jr, and any underclassman draftee who hires an agent and then goes back to college
FOR
Nick Franklin

EDIT: I guess it’s too soon for the jokes.

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The_Unnatural
1 year 4 months ago

Gross.

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Adrian Garcia
1 year 4 months ago

so a #5 starter and a 6th OF for Franklin? ummm

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Seamaholic
1 year 4 months ago

Franklin isn’t worth any more than that. In fact, that’s too much. Kendrick alone should be fine.

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Adrian Garcia
1 year 4 months ago

Kyle Kendrick? He of the 4.4 fWAR in 7 seasons for an impact bat at a premium position?

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Jake13
1 year 4 months ago

I hate to break it to you, but Nick Franklin didn’t show anything that makes him an impact bat.

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DagGummit
1 year 4 months ago

You’re right. Beyond those >1 BB/K ratios and >150 wRC+ numbers in the high minors while playing a premium position, that Nick Franklin kid is worthless…

Oh, wait…

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Jake13
1 year 4 months ago

Yeah he really raked in the MLB last year…

Oh, wait…

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DagGummit
1 year 4 months ago

Especially since, as everyone who knows anything knows, every single MLB hitter in history will always perform exactly as he did during his first ~400 MLB PA and that crazy-good MiL numbers over the course of ~2000 PA have absolutely zero correlation to MLB success.

Oh, and especially that a 22-year old MIFs are absolutely required to hit like Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout just to have any value, whatsoever for a MLB club.

Holding your own at the plate while playing a premium defensive position in your first go-round at the league is immensely valuable. The average 2B with 300+ PA last year had a 92 wRC+. Franklin put up a 90 in his first go-round the league. If he’d been a 26-yo 1B putting up a 110, I bet you’d be absolutely giddy even though that’s comfortable worse than league average for the position and the age relative to competition means he would be less likely to improve upon it.

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Jake13
1 year 4 months ago

I’m used to a 150 wRC+ or better out of my 1B, 110 is absolutely awful for that old of a 1B. Also it is a defensive position but Nick Franklin is not a defender, his value comes from his bat.

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DagGummit
1 year 4 months ago

No, you’re not. I guarantee it. 150 wRC+ are MVP-caliber type seasons. The total number of players at all positions with that type of performance was 10. The average starting MLB firstbasemen puts up is about 115-120. 110 is bad, but can be made up in age, defense and baserunning — not very easily for a 1B, mind you, but it can.

And you’re right to say that Franklin is a bat-first player at a non-bat position. The reason for that is because he hit better than most 1B in the high minors at a younger age while playing SS and 2B well enough.

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docmilo5
1 year 4 months ago

How about Cliff Lee for Ramirez, Gillies and Aumonte? Oh dang it, we used that trade already. :)