After signing Robinson Cano to a monster $240 million contract, the Seattle Mariners have put SS/2B Nick Franklin on the trade market. So far, the two teams that have been linked to the infielder the most are the New York Mets and the Tampa Bay Rays. Franklin doesn’t make any sense for the Rays.
Franklin, 22, was decent last year defensively at second base, but make no mistake about it, he would be a below average defensive shortstop. Franklin could hit 20 home runs in the majors if he is given 600 at-bats. In 102 games last year for Seattle, the rookie hit 12 homers with 45 RBIs. The Rays could use more power in their lineup, but where would Franklin play?
The Rays plan on using All-Star utility man Ben Zobrist everyday at second base in 2014. Zobrist is a better player than Franklin, so the Rays wouldn’t want Seattle’s former top prospect to play second. Tampa also wouldn’t want Franklin at short either with the slick fielding Yunel Escobar still under contract.
The Mariners are looking for pitching in any deal for Franklin, even though they desperately need another bat.
Franklin is a very confident kid who is a former top prospect. He can handle the pressures of MLB; the question is, can he handle shortstop? In a book about the Class-A Clinton Lumberkings, someone asked Franklin about his attitude and he said the following, “Some people think that I’m cocky or whatever… But I’m not. It’s just, I’ve never really failed. Why am I supposed to think that can happen when it never does?”
That sounds like a kid who can handle being in a pennant race, but the Rays shouldn’t give up a top pitching prospect for him, since he wouldn’t have a spot other than as a utility player.