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Mariners could part with Nick Franklin and other young talent to bolster roster

Dec 8, 2013, 7:00 PM EDT

david price getty Getty Images

If you thought the Mariners were going to call it an off-season after signing second baseman Robinson Cano to a ten-year, $240 million contract, think again. They’re only just getting started. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that the Mariners could use some of their young talent, such as middle infielder Nick Franklin, to bolster the roster. Franklin, who turns 23 on March 2, got his first taste of the big leagues last season, posting a .686 OPS in 412 plate appearances. He made Baseball America’s top-100 prospects list going into the 2011 and ’13 seasons.

Rays starter David Price is the Mariners’ top priority, Heyman writes. Price is in his third year of arbitration eligibility and can become a free agent after the 2015 season. He is due for a raise over last season’s $10.1 million salary, so the small-market Rays are interested in the salary relief that trading him would bring, similar to when they sent James Shields to the Royals last off-season. However, reports indicate that the Rays would want Taijuan Walker in any deal that sends Price to the Mariners.

In the same tweet, Heyman suggests the Mariners are looking for a “big-time” outfielder, citing free agents Shin-Soo Choo and Nelson Cruz, and trade targets Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Given that the Mariners only have to deal with two arbitration-eligible players, Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders, and currently have $36.5 million on the books for 2014, they still have plenty of room before matching last season’s Opening Day payroll of $84 million. It’s conceivable that they could pull the trigger on deals for both an outfielder and a top-tier starter.

  1. hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    Nick Franklin? If there is a single position the Rays have depth at, it’s middle infield. Zobrist, Escobar, Hak Ju Lee, Tim Beckham, Sean Rodriguez. I know to take the talent, but I don’t see how Franklin fits in. His arbitration clock has already started, so they can’t just hide him in the minors til Zobrist is a free agent. Dejesus, Jennings, Myers, and Joyce in the outfield, so you can’t move Zobrist there.

    Flip him to the Royals for Ventura maybe? To the Braves? Winter meetings will be fun.

    • kcrobert10 - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:06 AM

      Not going to go give u Ventura for Franklin. Sorry we have a need for him and Duffy and Zimmer. Franklin is anice player but we have bonefacio. If we get infante we definitely have no need.

      • hittfamily - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:23 AM

        Second baseman are more of a sure thing than pitchers. Why spend 5 mil on mark ellis, when you can have Nick Franklin. I’m not going to argue, but If I had my choice between Wade Davis in the 5th spot and Nick Franklin at second, or Ventura in the 5th spot and Chris Getz at second, I’d take Wade and Nick. The Royals need a long term solution at second, and a 23 year old who OPS’ .700 at safeco is a good place to start.

      • kcrobert10 - Dec 9, 2013 at 1:06 AM

        What u fail to realize is they have a young guy who they drafted 4 overall and payed millions to already in colon. Why give a potential stud in Ventura for what amounts to the same guy. If u want Davis take him hell ill even throw in a bullpen guy to like hochavear, Collins, Herrera, or crow. We can’t and should not trade cheap potential front of the rotation guys like Duffy, Ventura, or Zimmer for 2nd baseman who don’t drive in runs. I agree his on base % is nice but infantes was better and he only cost money.

    • flpunx - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:45 AM

      Moot point since Zobrist will be a career Ray. For some reason it seems like the rest of the league undervalues him, which works for me. I would hate to see him go anywhere else.

      • hittfamily - Dec 9, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        Me too, but he will. They can’t afford to keep him. He’ll be 34 when his contract is up at the end of 2015. Cano, Kinsler, Pedroia have all signed for over 100 mil. Zobrist won’t get that, but he will make 15 mil a year or more. The Rays simply won’t do that, no matter how beloved he is. Fuld, Crawford, Garza, and Shields were loved too.

  2. cackalackyank - Dec 8, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    It must be nice to have good young prospects that other teams want.

    • asimonetti88 - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:06 PM

      Also signed by Angels fans.

    • gdobs227 - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:45 PM

      It is nice. As a Pirate fan, I am experiencing that for the first time.

      • hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:45 PM

        How quickly Andy Laroche is forgotten.

  3. djpostl - Dec 8, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    They better add 2 impact bats (minimum) and a top-tier starter if they think they’re anything more than an 85 win team imo

  4. dylanthom2013 - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    Maybe one way of improving the O is to some way to move the fences in. Isn’t Safeco one of the most hitter-unfriendly parks there is?

    • spudchukar - Dec 8, 2013 at 10:22 PM

      Hey Rip Van Dylan, you just awake here in 2013?

    • Reflex - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:20 AM

      They did move them in. And the M’s had the second most HR’s in the AL last season.

    • dylanthom2013 - Dec 9, 2013 at 3:24 AM

      Color me stupid…I was looking at BR’s park factors for Safeco – “batting – 92″ + “pitching – 92″ which indicated it was a pitcher’s park. I could have just scrolled down a little bit…

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