Five days ago, it was reported that – along with the Mets – the Rays had interest in acquiring shortstop Nick Franklin from Seattle. Jon Heyman surmised that compared to the Mets, the Rays “may actually match up better” with the Mariners. According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, that may not be the case.
In a report Sunday, Topkin noted that while the Mariners are currently scouting the Rays’ young pitching, Tampa may not be a match for Franklin:
Seattle scouts have been around watching young Rays pitchers, but the market for INF Nick Franklin may be stronger elsewhere.
According to reports, the Rays and Mariners recently came close to a trade that would’ve sent Franklin to Tampa Bay, but the Rays backed out after starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson got hurt.
It reportedly wasn’t Hellickson who was to be sent to Seattle as part of the deal, but the hit to their pitching depth likely caused them to nix it.
Additionally, according to Baseball Prospectus, the Rays have the fifth weakest farm system in baseball – and it’s trending downward. One would think that would give them pause when considering whether or not to further deplete that system.
Aside from the injury to Hellickson, the Rays also have the issue of what to do with ace David Price. It’s viewed as highly unlikely that the Rays will extend the soon to be free agent, meaning that a midseason trade is likely.
The Rays may import young pitching in any potential deal for their ace, but Price being shipped out seems to make it less likely Tampa will deal young pitching for Franklin, who wouldn’t even be filling a position of need if acquired.
Meanwhile, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York continues to portray a trade of Franklin to the Mets as entirely possible.
With Jonathon Niese getting a clean bill of health, the Mets’ pitching depth is at a point where dealing a young arm for Franklin would be a measured move. You can’t ever guarantee health, but the Mets’ one area of relative depth is starting pitching.
The Mets are in need of a shortstop upgrade, and dealing from a position of strength to acquire one would be wise.