BY Steve Rudman 12:30PM 02/24/2014

Mets acknowledge interest in Nick Franklin

The Mariners have engaged in talks with the New York Mets over the possibility of a trade that would send Nick Franklin east for a top pitching prospect.

Second baseman Nick Franklin became expendable when the Mariners signed free agent Robinson Cano from the New York Yankees. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

With 12 home runs, 45 RBIs and six steals in 369 at-bats last season, Nick Franklin seemed a sure shot to become the Mariners’ every-day second baseman this year — until, of course, the club grew so desperate to achieve relevancy that it signed free agent Robinson Cano for $240 million over 10 years. The inking immediately made Franklin expendable.

Now, ESPN.com is reporting that the Mariners and New York Mets are engaged in conversations about the possibility of Franklin heading east in exchange for a young pitching prospect, or prospects. The Mets apparently need more time to evaluate the 23-year-old Franklin to determine whether he is capable of becoming their shortstop.

According to ESPN.com, it remains to be seen whether the Mets would be willing to part with a prospect the caliber of Rafael Montero.

While Franklin played second base during the last half of last season, the result of Brad Miller taking over at shortstop, Franklin’s desired position is shortstop. He played it in 261 minor league games before his call up to Seattle vs. 122 appearances at second base.

Although Franklin hit for some power last season, his home runs came in two notable clusters. Otherwise, Franklin produced a line of .225/.303/.382. A No. 1 selection by the Mariners in the 2009 June draft, Franklin committed 12 errors in 96 games.

The 22-year-old Montero split 2013 between AA Binghamton (Eastern League) and AAA Las Vegas (Pacific Coast League). He combined to go 12-7, 2.78, 1.01 WHIP in 27 starts spanning 155.1 innings.

According to the Newark Star Ledger, Montero “is one of the Mets’ top pitching prospects. Despite a late start to his professional career — he signed at 20 out of the Dominican Republic — he has built an impressive resume with a different aesthetic than the organization’s other highly-touted righthanded pitchers. Ranked by several outlets as a top-100 prospect — as high as No. 68 by Baseball America — Montero could reach the majors by the middle of this season.

“Mostly, it’s his command that is striking. Montero has allowed 67 walks in 348 1/3 minor league innings — and some of those were given away strategically to move through the lineup.”

Even if the talks between the Mariners and Mets, which began during the winter meetings, extend another couple of weeks, the expectation grows that Seattle will move Franklin by Opening Day.

 


YourThoughts

  • GD

    Noah Syndergaard

    Franklin is projected to be more WAR over the next 5 years versus Syndergaard. Rafael Montero is nice, but I think Seattle could end up landing Syndergaard out of a deal for Franklin.

  • GD

    Mets are so heavy on SP prospects they would hardly notice this move.

  • Joe Fan

    Please include Smoak, Please include Smoak, Please include Smoak, Please include Smoak…

  • RadioGuy

    Why trade last year’s starting 2B (and a guy who’s drawn interest from other teams in the past) for another “arm with promise?” Plenty of those already in Peoria. I’d rather see Cano moved to the OF and Franklin kept at 2B but, failing that, if they’re going to deal Franklin, get a proven hitter in return. Pitching is not the problem with this team and Jack Z needs to stop thinking like a farm director stockpiling warm bodies for Tacoma or Jackson.

  • Edgar Martinez

    I’m not sure why Franklin can’t play the outfield for us. He’s pretty quick and has a very good arm. He’d probably be better that Ackley, who has a noodle arm, and hits for much less power.

    The Mariners have a long history of holding on to the wrong guys and letting better ones leave.

    • RadioGuy

      I thought about that and it could work…Franklin seems like a guy who could make the switch. I’m just thinking of Cano being 31 and expected to play 150+ games at what can be a pretty challenging position. He might save some wear and tear on his body playing OF. Franklin is much younger and did fairly well after moving to 2B. Ackley is better defensively at 2B than either Cano or Franklin, but he seemed reasonably comfortable in the OF and more relaxed at the plate after coming back from Tacoma. I’d leave him in center.

      Anyway, I wouldn’t trade Franklin right now for anyone but a projected OF starter. For this year.

      • Edgar Martinez

        I don’t think Ackley has a good enough arm to be a good centerfielder.

  • jafabian

    If they’re going to trade him better to the NL than for him to stay in the AL. I’m not a fan of the club bringing him up last year, he responds well and then they go after Cano. Better to trade him now than to have a repeat of what happened with Brandon Morrow and Franklin has an up and down performance because he’s used inconsistently.

  • http://www.twitter.com/samjfinley Sam Finley

    Call me nuts, but I’m not keen on acquiring anyone with the last name of Montero right now.

  • Eric K

    One thing they need to do is not rush thinking they have to trade him before the season, nothing wrong with him starting the year in AAA and tearing it up for a month possibly upping the trade value

  • Big

    Gosh, you guys are fan fanatical for the M’s. Two thumbs up for showing interest in the team.