The Mariners appear to be shopping second baseman Nick Franklin and the Mets and Rays have already expressed interest in acquiring him this winter. Franklin was rated a top-100 prospect by Baseball America before the 2013 season and he played 102 games at the major league level last season, hitting .225/.303/.382. He will turn 23 next Monday and although he is young and he is projected to be an average player by Zips and Oliver, it is hard to see who will be willing to trade away a valuable package to acquire him at this point.
The Braves might be interested in landing a young second baseman, but they would probably have to do something with Dan Uggla first and he still has $26.4 million left on his contract and he has very little market value remaining after a dreadful 2013 season. The Rays might be looking at Franklin as a long-term solution at second for the time after Ben Zobrist hits the free agent market, but now that Jeremy Hellickson is injured, they probably need to hang on to their pitching depth to compete this season. There are some suitors out there, however. The Mets are still a strong option, especially if they believe Franklin can handle the shortstop position on a regular basis and it isn't hard to imagine the other New York team getting involved in talks for Franklin before Opening day, since Brian Roberts is currently the projected starter at second in the Bronx.
Still, Franklin has basically been available since the minute that the Mariners signed Robinson Cano and they haven't been able to move him. There simply may not be anyone who is willing to pay a fair price for him right now. If that is the case, Seattle may need to start him in the minors or on the bench and hope that a competitive club develops a hole that Franklin can fill. Meanwhile, there are other trade candidates out there. Jeff Samardzija has been the subject of rumors all winter and the Cubs could deal him before Opening Day, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the the Chicago Sun Times. The Red Sox got a strong performance off the bench out of Mike Carp last year and they could look to deal him this spring. If Matt Kemp comes back from ankle surgery before the end of camp, the Dodgers could still try to move an outfielder at some point before they head to down under.
Who is going to get dealt before the regular season starts? Will it be Nick Franklin? Samardzija? Is there a sleeper trade candidate out there no one is talking about?
Breakfast Links 2/26:
Budweiser has no concept of baseball, geography
We have no idea what timeline or alternate dimension Budweiser thinks MLB exists in.
No one is willing to pay Ervin Santana the money he wants and give up a draft pick, but hey, Game of Thrones returns in April, so at least he'll have that to look forward to.
Several competitive teams will give top prospects important roles in 2014.
You might remember him from such teams as the Rangers and from such scandals as the Biogenesis clinic.
Four words: Derek Jeter herpes tree (stay classy, internet).
Yes. Yes. A million times, yes. America can't thank you enough for this, Ozzie.