Sep 1, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Nick Franklin (20) bats during the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The Seattle Mariners made some big ticket moves this winter signing free agent Robinson Cano to the biggest contract of the offseason as well as OF/1B Corey Hart and closer Fernando Rodney. They also made a trade with the Marlins to acquire Logan Morrison in exchange for relief pitcher Carter Capps. The moves definitely signal that the Mariners are in win now mode and might be willing to trade prospects in the right move.
The signing of Cano in particular displaces talented, but unproven middle infielder Nick Franklin. As our own Ehsan Kassim pointed out on Marlin Maniac, the Miami Marlins have an organizational need at the position and could look into acquiring him. Let’s take a closer look at Franklin to see if it does make sense for the Marlins to pursue a trade and what it might take to get him.
Franklin is a switch hitting second baseman who made his major league debut in 2013 with success in some areas, but struggles in others. The good included 12 home runs, but came with just a .225 batting average and .303 OBP. He played second base during his time in the majors, but he came into the 2013 season as the Mariners #3 prospect as a shortstop. Here’s a look at Franklin’s stats from the last three seasons:
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His minor league track record suggests a well above average offensive performer in the middle infield which is a valuable commodity. He’s increased his home runs from 7 in 2011, to 11 in 2012 and finally to 16 in 2013. All while constantly receiving mid season promotions to higher levels. Although his strikeout rate ballooned to over 27% in the majors, he was still able to maintain a good 10% walk rate. Franklin also displays some speed skills with double digit steals in each season.
I would definitely see Franklin as an upgrade over anyone the Marlins currently have in their system at second base and maybe even shortstop depending on how Adeiny Hechavarria progresses this season. The question becomes what would it take to get him from the Mariners.
The Marlins organization currently has an excess in outfielders and the Mariners happen to have a need for a centerfielder with Franklin Gutierrez going down for the season recently. With this being the case, the organizations might be interested to pursuing a prospect for prospect challenge trade of Jake Marisnick for Franklin. Marisnick struggled mightily on offense in his brief call up in 2013, but his defense is highly regarded in the outfield and with the rest of the Mariners line up they may not need him to provide much offense initially. Plus if they plan to play Hart or Morrison in the outfield corners, a speedy centerfielder is a must.
Are you ready to give up Jake Marisnick to fill an organizational need at second base? Or is Marisnick too important the Marlins future to give up now?