Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Few teams appear – on paper, at least – to match up perfectly for a potential trade this time of year but that’s just the situation facing the Seattle Mariners and New York Mets. Seattle seems to have extra options capable of handling shortstop. New York is still in need of an upgrade at the position.
Nick Franklin, presumably, would be the most logical player discussed. New York reportedly expressed an interest in him at the Winter Meetings, but there are no indications that the two sides have held any serious discussions since. Seattle appears more likely to move him now than they would have then, but their asking price remains unclear. Most pundits expect the team to pursue young pitching in return.
Seattle’s been actively scouting the Mets’ games recently. ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin notes that the Mariners have been “double teaming” the games, which their scouts have been “attending religiously”.
New York’s 40-man roster is littered with young arms, though many of them are likely off limits in discussions. That hasn’t stopped the speculatory winds from swirling. Jenrry Mejia. Jeurys Familia. Rafael Montero. Each of their names continue to crop up. There’ve even been suggestions that the Mariners could look for a package built around a defensive-minded center fielder such as Matt Den Dekker and a lower level pitcher.
Franklin made his debut with the Mariners this past season, appearing in 102 games after beginning the season at Triple-A. He’d struggle at the plate, batting just .225/.303/.382 in 412 PA, but was respectable in the field. Playing mostly second base for the Mariners, however, there are still questions about his ability to handle shortstop long term. Seattle made a significant investment to bring in Robinson Cano this winter and they appear significantly more interested in giving Brad Miller time at short, leaving Franklin expendable.
New York has spent most of their offseason proclaiming a confidence in Ruben Tejada – electing to look past obvious upgrades such as Stephen Drew and others that were available at various points. Tejada’s struggled this spring, especially defensively, and the closer the team gets to Opening Day the more questions linger about Tejada’s place on the team long term. Wilmer Flores likely represents the team’s next best internal option, but this is the same player moved off the position years ago due to concerns about his range, leaving even more of an indication that the team may need to go outside the organization.