Perhaps you heard some minor news today about Robinson Cano agreeing with the Mariners on a 10-year, $240 million contract. Besides the obvious effect that Cano leaving the American League East has on the Blue Jays, it also opens up the possibility of acquiring one of the Seattle Mariners' second basemen, namely Nick Franklin. The 22-year-old has never been considered a good enough defender to play shortstop, meaning that he is now likely on his way out of Seattle.
Franklin is a 6'1" 195 lb. second baseman who was drafted 27th overall in the 2009 draft out of his Florida high school. After showing unexpected pop in the minor leagues, Franklin shot up top prospect lists and was finally promoted to the Majors this past season. After debuting on May 27th, Franklin appeared in 102 games mainly playing second base and hitting .225/.303/.382 with 12 home runs. The switch hitter struck out 27.4% of the time, which is an issue, but he's also had high walk rates throughout his career. None of the metrics loved his defence, but scouting reports of Franklin seem to consistently note that he would be an average second baseman that plays due to his bat. Due to the different ways defence is measured in WAR he had a 0.4 fWAR and a 2.3 rWAR.
With Dustin Ackley, Brad Miller, and Nick Franklin all on the roster as middle infielders, Seattle will surely try to move one of them and it seems that Franklin would likely be the one that goes due to his lack of ability to play shortstop. The Florida native still has six more years of team control, although there's a possibility he ends up as a super-two player due to his early debut in 2013.
Many teams will be calling up the Mariners today checking the price on the various infielders that Cano has made expendable. Alex Anthopoulos will likely be one of those incoming calls and he has the major league pieces that the Mariners will be looking for to bolster their 2014 roster. Seattle will be working very hard to build around Cano as many parts of their team look quite poor right now including their outfield. With Raul Ibanez, and Jason Bay leaving to free agency and Michael Morse being traded during the season, Seattle is extremely thin in the outfield. It would be assumed that Anthony Gose would be an obvious piece in this deal to go to Seattle and roam the rather large Safeco Field centre field. If that was what it took for Toronto to shore up their second base position then I feel most Blue Jays fans would be okay with it.
Here's example of the pop that comes from Franklin's small frame:
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Since it's always fun to think of trade scenarios, I would be happy with Anthony Gose and Brett Cecil for Nick Franklin. It's difficult to gauge how much value Franklin has and it would be hard to give up Cecil, but shoring up the second base position would be worth it in my eyes.
Dave Szymborski of ESPN had a look at the WAR projections of Robinson Cano and Nick Franklin for the next decade. Does it mean much? Not really, but it's cool to look at:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Here are the 10year ZiPS for Franklin/Cano, as suggested by a tweet that's really far back in my timeline somewhere. <a href="http://t.co/bHHfnTJc7s">pic.twitter.com/bHHfnTJc7s</a></p>— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) <a href="https://twitter.com/DSzymborski/statuses/409009086441598976">December 6, 2013</a></blockquote>
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