Citing a team source with knowledge of the situation, ESPN's Adam Rubin reported yesterday that the Mets have already and are expected to discuss the possibility of acquiring Nick Franklin from the Seattle Mariners later this spring. This comes just days after Rubin was the first to report on the possibility.
Franklin finished the 2013 season as the Mariners' every day second baseman. He has since come expendable via the acquisition of Robinson Cano. Due to a lengthy history at shortstop throughout his minor league development, Franklin could become the the Mets long awaited upgrade at the position. However, there are mixed reviews about his ability to handle the position with some scouts stating he grades out as average at the position and others questioning both his range and arm strength. One thing remains certain, Franklin would almost certainly represent a significant offensive upgrade as he is expected to hit for a high average and could provide 15+ home runs over a full season.
When discussions resume, the Mets will have had to determine for themselves if Franklin can field the position. Only then can they determine what cost they are willing to pay. The Mariners have been long rumored to seek starting pitching, something the Mets have plenty of. To date the Mets have been unwilling to part with their better prospects via trade, but it seems unanimous that Franklin will cost a prospect of Jacob deGrom's caliber, if not Rafael Montero.
Franklin would remain under team control through the 2019 season, and isn't eligible for arbitration until 2017. That should make him an attractive option for the frugal Mets. Acquiring him would bolster the lineup and also improve the team's bench. It would also provide them with options going forward. Although questions remain about his ability to play shortstop, if the Mets were to decide to upgrade later Franklin could potentially shift over the second and replace the increasingly expensive Daniel Murphy.
Whats clear here, is that the potential still exists for the Mets to improve the team prior to opening day..if they're willing the pay the price. Young, cheap shortstops are hard to come by, assuming the Mets feel he is capable enough to handle the role. You can expect this story to pick up steam if he does indeed become available, but expect that to be later in the spring when both the Mets and the Mariners know more about their team and their needs going forward.