New York Mets News

On Nick Franklin: Mets Have To Give To Get

By Danny Abriano

The Mets would like to make an upgrade at shortstop and Seattle’s Nick Franklin is reportedly available via trade. There’s a potential match there, but the Mets will have to part with something of quality in order to make it happen.

Aug 20, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Nick Franklin (20) is unable to turn the ball as Oakland Athletics earn a single during the second inning at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, the Mariners have a glut of middle infielders due to the signing of second baseman Robinson Cano and the emergence of young shortstop Brad Miller. No, that doesn’t mean the Mets – or any team – will be able to swoop in and acquire Franklin for a mid-tier prospect or a reliever. That’s not how this works.

Franklin, 22, is viewed by pretty much every scout who’s ever watched him as a plus bat. There are some who worry about his ability to stick at shortstop for the long haul, and some who think he can be just about average there.

If the Mets feel Franklin can handle shortstop, they should strongly consider dealing for him. If they think Franklin will have to switch to second base, he becomes much less appealing.

According to Baseball Prospectus, Franklin profiles as a player who “stands out for his ability to make consistent hard contact and drive the ball to all fields. He has a line-drive swing that will max out with 15-18 home runs a year, but should also generate 30-plus doubles at his peak. Franklin’s swing is simple and compact from the left side, allowing him to work counts and hit for a high average.”

Let’s say for the sake of argument that Mets people believe Franklin will be able to stick at shortstop.

That would make Franklin a 22 year old switch hitting shortstop who has the ability to hit for both average and power. There’s tremendous value in that.

What would the Mets have to give up for him?

According to reports, the Mariners want major league ready starting pitching. Names that immediately come to mind are Rafael Montero, Dillon Gee, and Jacob deGrom.

I’ve seen it written that the Mets absolutely should not deal any of their starting pitching. Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog stated that he wouldn’t give up Jacob deGrom for Nick Franklin. While I respect Matt’s opinion, I can’t agree with him there.

What seems to be happening, is that Mets fans are severely overvaluing the chips the club has while severely undervaluing Nick Franklin. You have to give to get. A trade for a top prospect will not be consummated by offering a team middling prospects and/or relievers who aren’t established.

Moreover, the notion that the Mets can’t give up any of their starting pitching is a notion I find to be absurd. At present, the Mets have Jonathon Niese, Bartolo Colon, Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia, Rafael Montero, Jacob deGrom, Daisuke Matsuzaka, John Lannan, and Noah Syndergaard as pitchers who are able to pitch at the big league level.

The Mets’ starting pitching depth is strong, and it should only improve next year – or late this season – when Matt Harvey returns.

Most trade proposals I’ve seen surmise that the Mets would be able to land Franklin if they dangle Rafael Montero. I’m torn on whether or not I’d pull the trigger, since I feel that most scouts are underselling how good Montero can be at the major league level.

Still, if the Mets continue to find Scott Boras’ demands for Stephen Drew outlandish, their best bet will be to take a long look at Franklin while weighing what it will be worth to acquire him.

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