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Report: Tigers to make a “serious run” at Mariners shortstop Nick Franklin

Mar 16, 2014, 8:55 PM EDT

Nick Franklin Getty Getty Images

Mariners shortstop Nick Franklin has been named in trade rumors throughout the off-season and into the spring. The Mets have been one team strongly linked to him. But with the Tigers hurting at the position after learning that Jose Iglesias will not be ready for the start of the regular season — at least — Ollie Connolly of OutsidePitchMLB is reporting that the Tigers are expected to make a “serious run” at acquiring Franklin.

The Tigers were expected to have significant interest in free agent Stephen Drew as well. Drew seems like a better fit for the Tigers than Franklin, as Drew only requires a commitment of one year and is overall more valuable, which is important for a team poised for a World Series run as the Tigers are. The Tigers, though, would have to relinquish their first-round draft pick, 23rd overall, in order to sign Drew, which GM Dave Dombrowski may feel is too high a price to pay for a stopgap solution.

Franklin slashed .225/.303/.382 in 412 plate appearances in his rookie season last year. Drew slashed .253/.333/.443 in 501 PA with the Red Sox. Depending on which defensive metrics used, Drew also grades out as a better defender.

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  1. tfbuckfutter - Mar 16, 2014 at 9:02 PM

    “Why go after Franklin when you can sign a fragile Drew who disappears in the playoffs for the low price of $100,000,000? Also, I’m not saying he knows how to cure cancer but he doesn’t not know how to not cure cancer. Also, he will hit 65 hrs and drive in 200 rbis if my ps3 simulations are any indicator.”

    -Scott Boras

    • 18thstreet - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:17 AM

      Drew was pretty solid, defensively, in the playoffs. I wouldn’t say he disappeared. He didn’t hit well, but there’s more to baseball than hitting.

      • jerze2387 - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:51 AM

        The tigers put Miggy at 3rd and Peralta at SS. I think theyre less concerned with defense than most

      • tfbuckfutter - Mar 17, 2014 at 11:44 AM

        I think getting on base 8 times in 57 plate appearances is a little bit worse than “not hitting well”.

  2. Ollie Connolly - Mar 16, 2014 at 9:12 PM

    Reblogged this on UKEndZone.

  3. ningenito78 - Mar 16, 2014 at 9:18 PM

    Still give Dombrowski credit for thinking long term too. Franklin would be the better investment.

  4. rje413diamond - Mar 16, 2014 at 9:29 PM

    I posted this yesterday!!!

  5. historiophiliac - Mar 16, 2014 at 9:42 PM

    Everybody calm the flip down!

    • unclemosesgreen - Mar 17, 2014 at 8:25 AM

      This is just leverage for Drew negotiations. If such things were possible I’d bet a large sum of money on Drew landing in Detroit on a pillow contract.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 17, 2014 at 8:36 AM

        DD says we are out on Drew. He says we will go for an internal replacement, which is probably not true — he likes to throw people off — but I doubt it’s Drew then. He doesn’t usually specifically rule someone out unless he’s serious about that. I’d guess a trade might still be in the works though. Hopefully this new specialist will have an answer and we’ll know something solid late this week.

      • unclemosesgreen - Mar 17, 2014 at 8:39 AM

        Public proclamations = p.r. Boras goes to the papers, DD says “two can play at that game.”

        Suddenly Tiggers are publicly linked to Franklin, who in no way fits their SS profile. Not buying.

        Drew to Tiggers, all this media manipulation is about an option year for Drew.

      • unclemosesgreen - Mar 17, 2014 at 8:50 AM

        Now if Kinsler were to go down for an extended period of time, which is hardly unlikely, btw, Franklin makes perfect sense. But the scouting consensus on Franklin is that he just doesn’t have the glove for SS.

  6. philliesblow - Mar 16, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    Why trade for Franklin when any of the in house options (Perez, Worth & Suarez) would hit just about as well (or poorly)? Personally I hope they give Suarez first crack at the job. In 5 minor league seasons he’s posted .277/.363/.404, including .253/.332/.387 in 111 games in AA last year.

    They do have Omar Vizquel on the coaching staff, maybe he could make a comeback. Whatever they do I hope Drew never puts on a Tiger uniform.

    • monupai - Mar 16, 2014 at 11:31 PM

      Don’t get ahead of yourself. Hitting .253 in AA is going to translate horribly towards the mlb. Franklin was called up because he hit well over .300

  7. paperlions - Mar 16, 2014 at 10:14 PM

    Not sure why they’d give up much for Franklin when they expect Iglesias back next year (or earlier) and when they could just promote Eugenio Suarez. He might not hit as well as Franklin, but he’ll be a better defender and provide similar value over the coarse of a year, and he won’t cost anything.

    • pappageorgio - Mar 16, 2014 at 10:55 PM

      I don’t know about any of you…..but if my SSOTF came up with some obscure shin issue I might be make a long-term plan just in case.

      Kids as young as Iglesias don’t usually miss entire seasons with shin issues. DD could very well be planning plan B with a potential Franklin trade.

      • paperlions - Mar 16, 2014 at 11:06 PM

        He could…but again, Franklin isn’t an obvious long-term upgrade over in-house options. At SS, defense matters, and Franklin doesn’t hit enough to ignore his defense.

      • paperlions - Mar 16, 2014 at 11:07 PM

        Besides, the Mariners are looking for a starting pitcher in return for Franklin…who, exactly, does Detroit have available? They may be interested in Franklin, but I don’t see a good match there.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 16, 2014 at 11:16 PM

        No more starting pitchers!

      • spudchukar - Mar 16, 2014 at 11:41 PM

        Yeah PL, I don’t see this happening, cause I don’t think the Tigers would be willing to part with anybody the Mariners would like to obtain.

        Franklin is better than reported in the comments. He has an .819 lifetime OPS, and he is fast, and can steal bases. There is a question about his SS ability, but there are still believers. And he only turned 23 last week, and was a first round pick in 2009.

        He has been consistently ranked around the top 50 prospect for the past 3 years, and got off to a very good 2013 campaign before injuring his hand. The Mariners are not going to give this guy away for nothing.

      • kindasporty - Mar 17, 2014 at 6:49 AM

        I get the feeling that they don’t look at Kinsler as the long term answer at 2nd. Unless Kinsler has a monster year, I wouldn’t be surprised if they try and trade him after the season. At that point, if Franklin is working out, and Iglesias is back to health, then Franklin plays 2nd and Iglesias plays short. That’s a lot of if’s, but honestly having too many good players to fill 2 positions is a lot better than not having enough good players.

  8. nymets4ever - Mar 16, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    Iglesias is overrated anyway, can’t hit the broad side of a barn…

    • paperlions - Mar 17, 2014 at 7:57 AM

      Maybe, but if you put Iglesias in front of that barn, he’ll catch everything that someone else hits at it.

  9. chaimtavish - Mar 17, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    I agree that Franklin’s a lot better than his stats from last year’s second half indicate. He has heart, in addition to being a hitter with potential (and some pop). My hope, as a Mariner’s fan, is that they don’t trade him–unless they get a proven pitcher.

  10. ns12540 - Mar 17, 2014 at 1:04 AM

    I as a Mariners fan (and Franklin.Jersey owner) hope the Mariners only trade him for something good.
    Rick Porcello would be a perfect return. But I also have a pipe dream of us making a package of players to acquire Austin Jackson.

    • spudchukar - Mar 17, 2014 at 11:24 AM

      They better do better than Porcello. In fact, they have better than Porcello. And for that matter they don’t need Jackson either.

      • JJ - Mar 20, 2014 at 7:25 PM

        Porcello is a 3 WAR pitcher. Felix and Kuma are the only ones better than that, and the latter is hurt. Porcello for Franklin would be fine by me.

      • spudchukar - Mar 21, 2014 at 9:50 AM

        I don’t know where you get your stats, but Porcello isn’t a 3 WAR pitcher. Lifetime he isn’t even a 2 WAR pitcher. He holds a career 4.51 ERA, over 5 years, and he has never had a good year.

        Kuma is fully recovered by the way.

      • JJ - Apr 6, 2014 at 9:55 PM

        Fangraphs. fWAR. Uses FIP, which measures what the pitcher can control.

      • spudchukar - Apr 7, 2014 at 10:52 AM

        Dude, it was 3 weeks ago. And while Fangraphs does suggest that Porcello has been a 3 WAR pitcher, Baseball-Reference certainly does not.

        2009 2.5 WAR
        2010 .1 WAR
        2011 .2 WAR
        2012 1.5 WAR
        2013 2.4 WAR

        And Fangraphs doesn’t have much faith in Porcello nor their accuracy of Porcello’s 2012-2013 WAR. Fangraphs also predicts Porcello to be a 1.9 or 2.2 pitcher in 2014 depending if you prefer ZIPs or Steamer. And even Fangraphs wouldn’t say Porcello has been a 3 WAR pitcher over his career.

  11. bigguy54 - Mar 17, 2014 at 1:35 AM

    Like others have said do not let the BA fool you, he hit a few HR’s last year and started swinging for the fence. The pitchers also adjusted and like all rookies he was slow to asdjust, but he did OK later in the year, he is also hitting fine in ST. I would like to see them get an MLB ready OF’er for him. Maybe it is a package deal with another team, not sure. I like the kid, but Cano makes him expandable. Our pitchimg will be fine a month in the season, maybe 4 starts at the most, our OF will be ugly all year.

  12. denny65 - Mar 17, 2014 at 2:59 AM

    Nick needs to go somewhere. Brad Miller has SS locked up.

  13. Ari Collins - Mar 17, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    This does not appear to be that reputable a source. They don’t say what kinds or sources they have, nor can they write worth a lick.

    Doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wrong, but I wouldn’t put too much faith in it.

  14. rbj1 - Mar 17, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    The Mariners basically committed a quarter of a billion dollars to their second base man and now at the end of spring training they’re going to break up their double play combo? Do they have an 18 y.o. phenom ready to step in that place?

  15. jmoroni89 - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    Classic DD. He isn’t going to go after anybody and next thing you know we have Jose Reyes. Classic. He’s too sneaky not to pull off some ridiculous move. I respect that.

  16. jerze2387 - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    dont they have lombardozzi that they got from the Nats? What do you wanna bet he ends up being the opening day SS?

  17. pwshrugged - Mar 17, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    I like this idea. I don’t think the Tigers have the necessary parts on the farm to make the trade, but I like this idea better than the other alternatives. Obviously, the Tigers aren’t going to give up anyone from the 25-man roster, so I imagine one of the higher pitching prospects like Casey Crosby would have to go, and maybe Daniel Fields or Steven Moya. But I’d also think, by now, that the Mariners front office is a little wary of dealing with DD, heh.

    Here’s the thing – we’ve got Kinsler for 3 years, and Victor Martinez for 1 more. If Jose is gone this year, Franklin takes over SS. So next year, I’m assuming V-Mart is gone. I can see Miggy DHing a little more, with Kinsler working 1B on occasion. There’s room enough to keep Franklin in the mix, either way. Plus, Franklin could potentially be moved to 3B if Castellanos doesn’t pan out or otherwise struggles this season. I agree, Franklin’s defense is a work-in-progress, but he’s a natural hitter with legit 20/20 potential, which would fit well with the kind of team the Tigers are building right now. I seriously doubt Kinsler to be the long-term answer at 2B, and there’s no organizational depth at that position, so a move for Franklin would make sense long-term.

    Assuming no trade happens, though, I agree with other posters on the sentiment that they let in-house candidates like Lombardozzi or Worth handle SS at first, at least until June, when they wouldn’t have to forfeit a draft pick for Drew.

  18. tigertails203 - Mar 17, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    I’d stay away from Drew personally. He didn’t want to come to Detroit in his last fling with free agency turn the tables now. Franklin wouldn’t be horrible but at what cost? Let’s hang with Lombardozzi until he falls on his face.

  19. hittfamily - Mar 17, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    If only they had a high quality starting pitcher who makes very little compared to what he produces, they could have this deal done in an hour. Someone like, say Doug Fister. DOH!

  20. weaselpuppy - Mar 17, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    They love Victor and barring further injury, I would bet my weeks pay they give him s 1-2 year extension. He’s only 34. Ortiz is 39….

    Franklin would be awesome, as this thing with Iggy I have read is genetic and is likely a long term issue, as he had it last yr and in the BoSox farm system too.

    What to give up? Hard to say…as said above, DD has cleaned their clocks the last 2 deals…netting a MLB contribution of 1.5 yrs of Casper Wells and 2+ of an average LOOGY for Doug Fister and Carlos Guillen..

    Tigers are heavy in 4th OF types and some pen arms…some lottery ticket SP prospects to chip in…may not be a fit here but I’d love to see him in the Olde English his tools….no way I trade Devon Travis yet though….

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