Goodbye Ruben Tejada, hello Nick Franklin?

3D logoYou may have heard that Seattle is willing to move Nick Franklin as Brad Miller seems to have won the hearts and minds of Seattle fans.  If you have not, I’m telling you.  Earlier in the offseason I talked about how Franklin could be an ideal fit for the Mets.  You can read that post: Here.

Matt Cerrone posited that the Mariners might be looking for Vic Black and that the Mets would be offering Jacob deGrom.  Frankly, I would probably trade both in a heartbeat.  I love Black, who could be a future closer, and I love deGrom, who could factor into a rotation or higher leverage relief, but I would be more excited about getting a player who could be the future for the Mets at shortstop.

Many people won’t want to trade Black and I get that.  Black could be the closer if Parnell doesn’t bounce back from his injury, but I think that closer is a much more easily replaced position.  The question is, would Seattle want more for their young shortstop?  More importantly, how much is too much to give?

We all know that certain players are off the table:

Would you be willing to offer:

I’m not putting answers in anyone’s mouth.  Who is on the table if Nick Franklin is, indeed, on the block?  Let’s see what the fans would be willing to give up…

40 comments for “Goodbye Ruben Tejada, hello Nick Franklin?

  1. Glenn
    February 22, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    When you look at where each has ranked on recent prospects lists, Montero for Franklin is actually a pretty fair exchange. That said, I can understand if the Mets are hesitant and want to hold back dealing Montero at this juncture, especially with Harvey out this year and Syndergaard not ready until mid season. Montero’ trade value could rocket if he makes a successful MLB debut himself this year. I am sure they would love to build a deal off DeGrom but I am not sure how Seattle would view that. They’d probably want another MLB ready piece, such as Black, and that might be more than Sandy is willin to give. Maybe including someone like Walters or Leathersich with DeGrom might intrigue them enough. Even so, as much as I like Black – a good power arm in the bullpen I much more replaceable than finding a high upside young shortstop like Franklin so the mets should be doing whatever possible to get this deal done. Franklin has power/speed upside with high OBP potential, a much higher ceiling than Tejada. Even if they are force to trade Black, they have plenty of young power arms for the bullpen such as Familia, German, and Mazzoni, not to mention Mejia if he can’t stick in the rotation, plus guys on the farm like Walters, Leathersich and Tapia.

    • Herb
      February 22, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      Good analysis, Glenn. I’d absolutely love to get Franklin. He’d make a great leadoff hitter and a slick fielding shortstop.

      My initial thought, when the thought of a trade for Franklin resurfaced, was to give them Mazzoni, Jayce Boyd and Cory Vaughn. Frankly, if all it took was Black, I’d pull the trigger in a heartbeat, as much as I do like Black for our pen. Maybe I am overrating our prospects, but I just don’t want to give up Montero. Flores is someone I’d hate to part with too. But I would probably give them Nimmo, again if Nimmo alone would do the trick.

  2. Cb
    February 22, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Seattle will not trade this guy quickly for Black or deGrom, remember it’s a sellers market. So, we will need to sweeten the pot. We really need Black, and lefties are a premium so I would offer Leathersich and Herrera!! If that’s not enough, I would send ten pounds of pastrami from Katz’s, along with an ample supply of knishes, bagels and sour pickles

  3. Captain America
    February 22, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    I would think they would ask for a hitter and pitcher.

  4. Jerry Grote
    February 22, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Too much?

    Montero. Flores. Nimmo.

    Fine?

    Major league roster:
    Tejada + another player. Davis, but then I’d probably be asking for Miller. Most of the bullpen arms, not including closers or Black. NO starting pitchers, or even guys that might be.

    At AAA or above …

    DeGrom, in a second. Or MDD (you have to give quality to get quality.)Brown, who you’d need to combine with someone like Centeno.

    Below AAA?

    Any position player, except Plawecki and of course Dom. Matz, again, talent for talent.

  5. Name
    February 22, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Wow. Second time an article you write is 360 from a previous article just written. Do you plan this, or is it simply coincidence?

    I’m not sure they want more pitching prospects. They already have a trio of top (or former top) prospects in Walker, Paxton, Hultzen plus youngsters Erasmo Ramirez and Brandon Mauerer. In addition they are in win-now mode so I’m guessing they might be more interested in Gee/Niese. I wouldn’t trade Niese, but i think i might do Gee for Miller or Franklin straight up.

    Another area they need are Outfielders, which we lack in quality ourselves. We could probably pair an outfielder with Black to get something done. It could be Lagares + Black, although they already have a defensive-oriented Gutierrez. Or Puello + Black but Puello probably wouldn’t be able to help them to start the season. Another option is Mdd + black + low-level pitching prospect.

    • February 22, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      I can tell you that this one was a coincidence.

      • David Groveman
        February 23, 2014 at 6:29 am

        Yes,

        Saw that would happen when the other Franklin post went up in the AM.

        I write my Saturday posts days in advance with no prior knowledge of other posts.

  6. Stephen Guilbert
    February 22, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    If you want to trade for Franklin as a second baseman, go ahead. We have Murphy there, you know.

    Franklin is not a good defensive shortstop. You cannot have two defensive liabilities at short and second for a team that generates as many ground balls as our pitching does (both starting and relieving). You just can’t. If you want to trade for a young shortstop, I’d rather look at Arizona who has Gregorius and Owings..both very solid defenders but not as good hitters as Franklin or Miller.

    Or if you’re going to give up as much talent as you’re suggesting, go all in and make a run at Lindor, Boegarts, or Profar.

    Frankly I think the idea of trading anything of value for Nick Franklin is stupid. The kid’s a fine hitter (even with the high strikeouts and the long swing) but he’s a second baseman..not a shortstop.

    • Stephen Guilbert
      February 22, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      And since Mr. Grote and Mr. Groveman will ask for evidence, I’ll add that I have seen Franklin play live and I have read a number of scouting reports that confirm the above. Here is an article from Jason Parks and the team at Baseball Prospectus. BP is, according to many, myself included, possibly the single best authority on minor league players. Here’s what they said

      “Scouting Report: No matter where he plays in the field Franklin is a bat-first player. He is limited at shortstop, offering only modest range and an arm that earns below-average to fringe-average grades. He has decent hands and solid instincts but they are not enough to make him a palatable defender on the left side of the infield long term. If he is shifted to second base permanently, a position he has played extensively in the minor leagues, Franklin could be an average defender with an average arm for the position”

      http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20726

      • Stephen Guilbert
        February 22, 2014 at 1:58 pm

        Here’s another expert whose opinion I trust–John Sickles– who is more bullish about Franklin’s defense but still prefers him at 2nd:

        “Defense is probably the biggest question here: can he play shortstop? I felt his arm was OK for the position when I’ve seen him in person; at least, it was stronger than I was led to believe it was. On the other hand, scouts and qualified observers who have seen him more often than I have aren’t as sanguine and generally rate his arm as merely average and better-suited for second base. As I wrote in the comment, he’s a fine athlete but sometimes has some footwork problems at shortstop. At second base, he’s looked more natural.

        All told, as a shortstop I would describe him as “adequate, has a chance to improve, workable if he hits enough.” On the other hand, I have no doubts at all about his ability to be an above-average, even excellent, gloveman at second base.”

        So I repeat…if you have something in the works where you swap Murphy for another big piece for this team and get Franklin to man second, I think you’re on to something. I’d probably do that, depending on the price. I do stand by my assertion that giving up Rafa Montero or comparable talent for a guy to play shortstop who isn’t very good there, is not a good way to spend our talent.

      • Jerry Grote
        February 22, 2014 at 2:20 pm

        since you added my name for no reason …

        We have a no bat/league average (if that) SS that hasn’t shown an ability to be on the field for really 130 games. By your admission and others, we have a bat first/not a real fielding SS/2B in Nick Franklin

        Given the that our GM has said he’s emphasizing hitting over fielding … my response was what I would give up to get him.

        Nick Franklin has value. He’s been a top 100 talent twice. He’s hit at the major league level, at a tough stadium to hit. He has played SS and the majority of his time in the minor leagues was at that position.

        And it would seem that between the two of us, I value him considerably less.

        • Stephen Guilbert
          February 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm

          I brought up your name because we differ in opinion and I like debating with you.

          You bring up good points and I agree with most of it. Franklin would be an upgrade offensively without a doubt. The thing is, I can’t justify sacrificing the defense in the middle of the field when we already have Murphy. Two bad up-the-middle defenders for a team that has Niese, Wheeler, Mejia, Familia, eventually Syndergaard, Montero (i.e. guys who make batters hammer the ball into the ground), is not a recipe for success. Don’t you agree?

          IF the price truly is deGrom, I go for it in a heartbeat. You try Franklin there and hope he’s not terrible defensively. If he is, you can move him to second, trade Murphy for a first baseman or a shortstop if you can, and rework it that way. I just can’t imagine that the price is that low. If you were trading away a top-100 SS prospect, would you take a 25 year old who was never a top prospect, is probably a future reliever, and got hit around at AAA? I don’t think so. No, the conversation will start with Syndergaard and end with Montero or Gee. That’s too pricey for me so I pass.

        • Stephen Guilbert
          February 22, 2014 at 2:26 pm

          Also, you can emphasize hitting over fielding only to a degree. If you can’t generate outs, you have a problem. If Franklin were even a league average defensive shortstop, I’d be all for this. I just don’t see him as that player. I think he could be a truly awesome second baseman but that’s not what we’re going for here.

          • David Groveman
            February 23, 2014 at 6:31 am

            I get the offense vs. defense argument. It is fair. I think I’d be willing to trade for him and accept the liability, but it could blow up in the faces of Met fans 200%.

  7. Jerry Grote
    February 22, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    I’ve trumpeted defense up the middle for some time; it’s why I like Drew and Lagares (recent commentary to the contrary).

    I just think that Tejada doesn’t bring anything to this team, whatsoever. He’s not durable, so he’s a roster constraint; he’s not a truly plus defender; he can’t hit; he offers no speed; at his ultimate, he’s a 1-2 WAR player … and at 24, we’ve very, very, very likely already seen everything he can do, so its not like he even has some sort of ceiling.

    Franklin can hit. He can do one thing, pretty well and better than most of the guys that play either SS or 2B. I will trade stuff, especially extra stuff I don’t need, for talent.

    • Stephen Guilbert
      February 22, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      Can’t argue with that. Only thing I’d offer as food for thought..would Franklin at shortstop be more than a 2 WAR player? Ruben’s been around that twice in his career already, despite all of his flaws you mention. If you truly believe Franklin is a 3-4 WAR SS, you make this deal and you pay handsomely for it (like Montero handsomely). I don’t see him as that sort of player, I just don’t.

      • Jerry Grote
        February 22, 2014 at 3:27 pm

        Well, we’ve kicked this one around enough, but to be sure I’m not misunderstood …

        I don’t think Franklin is a 3-4 WAR SS (which, functionally, is where I place Drew). I think he’s a 2 WAR guy, with *the possibility of being a 3*. He’s roughly as price controlled, roughly as young as your current option. So he represents, in my humble mind, an upgrade.

        We can give up a young, prescient bull pen arm (any one of Familia, Walters, German). That’s fine; package it with a AA hitter (Travis Taijeron?) if need be. Good. Now you’ve made the *major league roster* much more talented without robbing the future.

        Montero? Not in a million years.

        • Stephen Guilbert
          February 22, 2014 at 3:28 pm

          +1

      • harmony55
        February 22, 2014 at 6:16 pm

        For what it’s worth, Oliver projects five-year WAR of 19.2 for Brad Miller, 17.5 for Nick Franklin, 14.2 for Juan Lagares, 9.6 for Rafael Montero, 9.4 for Jon Niese, 7.8 for Wilmer Flores, 3.9 for Dillon Gee, 3.8 for Jacob DeGrom and 0.4 for Vic Black.

        Each team has its propriety method of player valuation, but the Oliver projections shed light on each player’s value.

        • harmony55
          February 22, 2014 at 8:17 pm

          That should read “proprietary” method.

        • harmony55
          February 24, 2014 at 10:16 am

          To elaborate, Oliver projects a five-year WAR of 16.3 for Matt Harvey, 5.9 for Zack Wheeler and 5.6 for Noah Syndergaard.

          Each team, and probably each individual, most likely has a distinct method of player evaluation. Some may rate Harvey higher and Nick Franklin lower, or vice versa.

          Here is background on the Oliver projections:

          http://www.hardballtimes.com/introducing-oliver/

          http://www.fangraphs.com/library/principles/projections/

  8. blaiseda
    February 22, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Why would you trade for a poor fielding SS who is listed as a 2Bmen and hasnt hit very well in a albeit brief stint in the majors. Just cause he hit 12 homeruns? Seems to me, we just play Wilmer flores. He’ll hit better than Franklin and field about the same.

    I’m all for finding a real SS who can field well and hit well. But Frankliin doesn’t appear to be that player.

    • David Groveman
      February 23, 2014 at 6:33 am

      He didn’t hit well in his MLB glimpse but his OBP and SLG were both excellent in that time.

  9. Stephen Guilbert
    February 22, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Also Jerry one last note on the whole defense/offense thing, I think Sandy has said that to get performances out of questionable offensive players like Young, Lagares, Tejada. If you look at what he just said in regards to Chris Young/Cruz, his true intentions are what they’ve always been…pitching, defense.

    https://twitter.com/DPLennon/status/437318789684658177

    • Jerry Grote
      February 22, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      Literally just read that quote from Sandy.

      Really Sandy? You’re playing the “defense and pitching” card? Sorry, not buying it … because if that was the case, would we be hearing about putting the butcher back in the OF? Why is Duda putting down his first base glove, if defense is so important to you?

      Nope. That’s CYA, I gotta say something. Move this whole world back to November, tell me that back then Sandy Alderson is offered Nelson Cruz for 1/$8 or CY for 1/7.25MM and he takes Chris Young, and I’ll be sure to tape record your response for the Comedy Channel.

      • Stephen Guilbert
        February 22, 2014 at 9:17 pm

        Yea the whole Duda in the outfield this is kinda ridiculous and probably overanalyzed by fans. Duda should absolutely take reps in the outfield because he is an option there if we have a ton of injuries. It’s good to stay fresh there just in case he needs to fill in at any point. Will he? Probably not. But when asked, the honest answer is “Yea we’ll get him his reps there”. Same with Flores at short. Neither is happening unless a lot a lot goes wrong with the injury bug. At the end of the day, Sandy knows that this team was built around the idea of strong pitching with players who can help get his pitchers out who will score them runs through hitting for power while adding speed and getting on base. If you look at the players he’s brought in, it follows that ideology pretty closely.

        • Raff
          February 23, 2014 at 7:17 am

          Jerry Grote– I think the answer for Sandy’s “flip-fop” is- Sandy is pretty sure that he’s going to be stuck with Ike. He needs to maximize Ike’s spring training AB’s and game time, in order to hope he does well and/or generates a nibble or two from other teams. He’s also looking to showcase Duda a bit, and possible get some other team to believe he might actually be an answer as a 4th corner OFer. Kind of of playing all sides to the middle. My basic grounds rule with the utterances of Sandy> – pay no attention to the man behind the curtain http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWyCCJ6B2WE

  10. tommyb
    February 22, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Ain’t never seen Franklin, but he had more than just 12 HR, he had 20 other extra base hits in just 370 at bats AT THE AGE OF 22!! In 2012, he was promoted to AAA and hit .240…in 2013, he was hitting .320 in 140 ABs in AAA with a low K rate when called up…so why would we not expect to see offensive improvement this year as he is about to turn 23, an age when most guys are just hitting AA or AAA?

    Let’s say Mets get him and he hits .255, 35 doubles, 7 triples, 16 HR and steals 20 bases this year…would you put up with mediocre defense then? I would – I am sick of Met hitting anemia. I’ll take more runs and hope I can minimize defensive problems with late inning defensive replacements.

  11. Metsense
    February 22, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Great debate. The Mets don’t have any organizational depth at shortstop. For that reason I would trade as high a prospect as Montero. I would swallow hard and even go as high as Gee and let Montero take Gee’s place in the rotation. The team is naked with just Tejada and if something happens to him then what do they do? Getting Franklin doesn’t mean goodbye Tejada. Tejada should get plenty of time spelling Franklin and Murphy up the middle in the late innings.

    • Stephen Guilbert
      February 22, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      We absolutely need shortstop depth but I cringe at the idea of a Franklin-Murphy double play combo. I honestly don’t think our pitching staff gets out of that unscathed. Wheeler, Gee, Niese, Mejia (extreeeeme GB pitcher), Syndergaard, Montero, Black, Parnell, Rice, Lannan are all ground ball pitchers. In the case of Rice, Niese, and Mejia, they’re extremely skewed ground ball pitchers. Thor likely will be as well with his trajectory and movement. Infield defense should be more important to this team than it is others and unless we’re replacing Murphy with someone with Brandon Phillips’ or Darwin Barney’s glove, I just cannot justify getting a guy who’s not at least an average shortstop, if not far better. This is another reason the Wilmer Flores at shortstop idea is stupid.

      • Captain America
        February 22, 2014 at 11:09 pm

        But tejada Murphy is ok?

        • Stephen Guilbert
          February 22, 2014 at 11:11 pm

          Tejada’s a good defender, so yea it’s a lot better.

          • David Groveman
            February 23, 2014 at 6:34 am

            Tejada didn’t seem like a good defender in 2014. To be fair that could be perception vs. reality.

            • February 23, 2014 at 9:43 am

              Tejada is about an average defensive shortstop. DRS thinks he’s slightly below average while UZR thinks he’s slightly above. And that’s considering his whole career at SS in the majors, not just 2013. He’s logged 2,038.1 innings at short, with 1,200 innings considered a full season.

      • Metsense
        February 23, 2014 at 7:36 am

        The Mets are painted in a corner. Sandy knew Drew would be “expensive” and didn’t have a plan B. I think if the Mets were going to not sign Drew or not trade for a shortstop then I would have made an early play for Clint Barmes who is a terrific light hitting defensive shortstop. He was only 1/2M and he would have provided the necessary depth.
        Although my gut doesn’t agree, the linked article helps explain the reasoning of a Flores or Franklin at shortstop. I personally prefer pitching and defense as a formula to succeed.
        http://www.hardballtimes.com/infield-defense-changes-with-three-true-outcomes/

        • February 23, 2014 at 9:44 am

          I wouldn’t pay any money to Clint Barmes. I’d just promote Wilfredo Tovar.

        • Chris F
          February 23, 2014 at 9:45 am

          Interesting article Metsense, thanks for the link. I find the big picture stories such as this hard to do digest when it comes to actual game by game play. I can see the giant overall trend, but does that actually lessen the need for a strong defense up the middle? The linkage relating big data sets and game events is tenuous because they sample different things and so address different things. Strong defense at short is essential.

          Having said that, I’m not at all sure Drew is a signing I’d make. I don’t want to unintentionally support a bunch of Alderson’s personnel decisions with my comment here, because I think he has made some serious judgement errors. In this case Drew is not worth the money IMO because the Mets do not become post season contenders with his addition. With that being the case, why invest the money? Tejada may not be an every day big league SS, but this year we will find out it seems. I’m ok with that. The FA pool for next year isn’t hugely deep at SS, but maybe the plan I’ve has is more aimed at solving shortstop in a 1-2 yr time frame.

          • Jerry Grote
            February 23, 2014 at 4:46 pm

            Here’s why you sign Drew:

            * In every regard, he is better than the current option.
            * The cost, in terms of a third round pick, amounts to a 1 in 15 shot that you’ll get 7 WAR, or a 14 out of 15 shot that you’ll get absolutely nothing.
            * He has shown a pronounced ability to deliver 3+ WAR at the position.

            If Jhonny Peralta was too rich for Sandy Alderson, JJ Hardy et al will make him vomit in the Men’s room at the Winter conference next year.

            And what’s to say Jed Lowrie or Yunel Escobar are any better than what Drew brings to the table? Escobar will be coming on to the market with basically a 3 WAR running average as a 32 year old. Lowrie? 2 WAR, and 31. JJ Hardy? Way, way, way out of your price range.

            Here he is. 3.1 WAR, and he has a 4.0 under his belt. He’s fully healthy. He’s not going to be getting anywhere near the normal rate per Win. What are you waiting for?

  12. Raff
    February 23, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    More and more- I think that “waiting to see” on SS, 1B, CF is a good strategy. The point is: The Mets have those 3 defined holes to fill. It’s a guessing-game, somewhat- but the Mets have to hope that one or two of those positions will be filled with the current talent they have- at “controllable” expenses. Franklin and Miller are suspect, for the various reasons already expressed here. There’s no clear reason to just “jump” and deal a prospect/suspect you know for one you don’t know. From now until the trading deadline (and beyond), there will be better opportunities to assess and address these needs, I think. In any event- nobody believes, including the Mariners, that either Franklin or Miller represents a stellar future shortstop. They are both big question marks. Further- Making a trade of a Mets Pitching prospect for one of them really amounts to both foreclosing an oppty to take advantage of the pitching prospect you are giving up and the potential that Tejada might display the offensive production which has marked his minor league, and at least some of his Major League time. So, you’re taking two potential upsides out of play on a team that has many needs, in exchange for a question mark. Bottom line- neither of these guys projects as a long-term answer tot he shortstop question— No more than the guy you currently have on board.

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