The Mets will be scouting Nick Franklin throughout Spring Training according to John Harper of the Daily News.
The Tampa Bay Rays are also interested in Franklin according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
The M’s are looking for a comparable pitching prospect in return.
Heyman says that the Rays probably match up better than the Mets according to sources.
That could be an indication that the Mets are reluctant to part with Montero or the like, or that Tampa Bay has a stacked farm and are eager to give the M’s what they want in return for Franklin.
Get ready for three weeks worth of Franklin updates.
A Mets insider acknowledged validity to an ESPN New York report about a potential match for the Mets in Seattle infielder Nick Franklin.
The source said there had been dialogue with Mariners officials at the winter meetings. The talk is expected to resume in the next month with Seattle having an excess infielder and the Mets having the type of young pitching Seattle desires to obtain in a swap.
Looks like this has gone from a rumor to serious business…
Adam Rubin says that the Mets will need to figure out if Franklin could handle shortstop full time before pulling the trigger on any such deal.
He adds that the Mets would have to part with a prospect the caliber of Rafael Montero and it remains to be seen if they would move a prospect like that.
You can read more about Franklin below…
Original Post 2/22
MMO’s Peter Anselmo profiled Franklin as a potential trade target for the Mets back in December and wrote:
Nick Franklin has a good chance to be one of the best players on this list offensively. Like Chris Owings, Franklin has the coveted power and speed combination but maybe even more so. Franklin struggled in his first taste of the major leagues last season with a line of .225/.303/.382 in 369 AB’s but he did show the ability to draw some walks with a 10.2% BB rate. He also needs to cut down on his strikeouts, whiffing 113 times last season in that span.
With more major league experience, Franklin has the potential to hit 15-20 home runs and swipe 20-25 bases per season. There is a drawback to Franklin, however, as he does not play the kind of defense Didi Gregorious or Owings does. Franklin has a fringe average arm at best. That combined with mediocre range makes it look like he is destined to be a second baseman, which is perfectly fine, but not for the Mets.
Franklin, 22, told the Seattle Times he prefers to play shortstop. ”Shortstop’s really my natural position. Being at second was a little outside of it. The big thing with me, I grew up playing shortstop my whole life. It’s nothing new to me.”
The Mariners want a top pitching prospect in return so it may come down to moving a prospect like Rafael Montero. However it’s not clear if the Mets are confident enough in their stable of young pitching to move one of their key arms. The front office has closely guarded their young pitching surplus all offseason long and have resisted the temptation to trade an arm to fill a pressing need.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to check in.