Nick Franklin as a Possible Trade Target for the Royals

Sep 15, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Nick Franklin (20) makes a play against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Mariners 12-2. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The moves made during the offseason can set about a chain reaction. The Royals offer to Carlos Beltran may have caused the Yankees to sign Jacoby Ellsbury, as they may have felt that Beltran would be returning to Kansas City. In turn, the Yankees signing of Ellsbury may leave it difficult for them to resign Robinson Cano, with the Mariners having the largest offer on the table for the second baseman. Just like dominoes, one move sets about other reactions.

I swear there is a Royals take in this, just be patient.

Should the Mariners actually pry Cano away in free agency, that would leave the Mariners with a surplus of second basemen. Although he ended the season playing center, Dustin Ackley initially reached the majors as a second baseman and has been solid defensively around the bag. Then there is Nick Franklin, who in his rookie season, placed among the top second basemen according to defensive metrics. Yet, this is Robinson Cano – neither is going to supplant him in the lineup.

However, the Mariners could still use help in the lineup and bullpen. Meanwhile, the Royals could potentially use a second baseman and could potentially have pieces to move. With Franklin blocked in Seattle, could he be a possible target for the Royals?

With Nick Franklin, the Royals would get a player who has displayed flashes of power, hitting twelve home runs last season. However, he did struggle at the plate, producing at only a .225/.303/.382 batting line, while walking only 42 times against 113 strikeouts. Would he really be that much better than what Christian Colon or Emilio Bonifacio could provide at second?

The possible reason why Franklin may be a better option than either is his age. At only 23 heading into next season, Franklin was able to hit with some power and show decent speed. As he develops, it may not be unreasonable to think that he could become a player capable of hitting approximately twenty home runs while stealing fifteen bases. If he can develop better plate discipline and make more consistent contact, Franklin could turn into a top second baseman.

However, that is part of the question if the Royals were to pursue Nick Franklin should he become available. While no prospect is a sure thing, Colon has a track record of making consistent contact and being a generally solid player. While he may not have the power and speed combination that Franklin could develop, Colon likely has a much higher floor than Franklin. Would the Royals be willing to take a risk on getting a possible breakout candidate, leaving Colon as a possible utility infielder? Or do they feel that Colon and Bonifacio could be enough to handle second base?

Should the mariners actually sign Robinson Cano, we may find out the answer to that question. In the meanwhile, although it does not affect the Royals just yet, those dominoes keep falling.

Topics: Christian Colon, Kansas City Royals, Nick Franklin

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  • jimfetterolf

    Didn’t Seattle move their fences in last year? Beyond the power he looks like the second coming of Chris Getz. Lets just stick with Boni and Colon and trade excess relievers for prospects, turn some 4 1/2 A arms into some A+ and AA arms

    • Dave Hill

      Yet, Franklin is the name that keeps coming up when the idea of Billy Butler to Seattle is mentioned. Franklin may be too much of an unknown to make this a good idea.

      • jimfetterolf

        Better might be to get him on waivers if Seattle signs Cano. We should be able to get a Ciriaco type on waivers. if Seattle wants Billy, we want hot young arms. Otherwise billy is worth his money and due for a bounce back year if they can get Moose and a few others going so that Billy gets some pitches to hit.

        • Dave Hill

          I definitely wouldn’t move Butler just for Franklin, but I wonder if either Crow or Collins could get something done there.

          • jimfetterolf

            I could see either or both, but would prefer a return of prospects rather than a second tier player.

            I’ll take my chances with Bonifacio and Lough/Maxwell to start the season. If Billy is traded for prospects, that frees a roster spot for our fifth OF. As is, either Lough goes back to Omaha or one of Maxwell or Dyson gets traded or released.

            I admit, I like the team we have and feel no sense of panic. I think Billy rebounds this year and if just a couple of others produce we’ll be around 90 wins. Could be higher or lower based on Duffy and Ventura, on whether Cain can stay healthy, whether Gordon and Butler return to their normal, whether Hosmer repeats, whether Escobar goes back to hitting grounders, and whether Moose fixes his problems or whether he’s a bust. One signing or trade for a veteran will have much less impact on the team than the above factors.

          • juice_box

            The Royals need to win now. Why would we trade Butler, our most consistent hitter, for prospects?

          • jimfetterolf

            Because the Royals need to win for years to come and veterans get expensive but can be converted to future waves of talent, the lifeblood of small market teams.

          • juice_box

            Did you just wake up from a coma? We’re all in on 2014. If winning in 2016 were the goal, we would have never traded Wil Myers for James Shields.

          • jimfetterolf

            No, we aren’t all in for 2014 and it would be foolish to do so, David Price not worth Duffy, Ventura, and Zimmer, much more valuable talent than Myers.

            2014 will be a good team and without doing foolish stuff like Ewing Kauffman did several decades ago it will be a good team for years to come, with Shields or without him. That’s the whole idea of assembling young talent, avoiding the booms and busts that comes from doing like Toronto or the Angels.

          • Jhwendland

            Like it or not, when the Royals pulled the trigger on the Wil Myers trade, they gave themselves a two year window in which to make the playoffs. Without James Shields, the rotation is nowhere near playoff caliber. You can’t count on Ventura, Zimmer and Duffy to be front-of-the-line starters in 2015 (the last years of Butler’s and Gordon’s contracts).

          • Jhwendland

            Even with Shields the rotation is shaky. But you can’t be making moves to help the club four or five years down the line when you have a shot at making the playoffs.

          • jimfetterolf

            Not mutually exclusive, winning this year and four or five years from now.

          • jimfetterolf

            That is one view, another is that the Royals saw the trade the same way the Rays saw signing Pena some years ago, a move outside the business model to cut a corner and become a winning team a year or two earlier. Only time will show which of us is correct, but it’s hardly all in with the three pitchers you mention plus other high value prospects still in the system. Dayton Moore is building a team to last, not just be a one-shot wonder.

            As for Gordon, trade bait next winter. Billy may never get too expensive simply because his skill set is too narrow. He could actually retire a Royal.

          • Jhwendland

            I’m bullish on Ventura and Zimmer but Dayton Moore’s track record with pitching prospects isn’t very strong. The whole last wave all missed (Lamb, Dwyer, Montgomery).
            I still think the Royals have a better shot at making the playoffs in 2014 – though not as good of a shot as they had in 2013 – than they do in 2015 or 2016. You don’t trade the cornerstone of your lineup when you have a shot at the playoffs.

          • jimfetterolf

            There was a reason for the failures, that the Royals took young studs who were long-tossers and program trainers and changed their training, Hochevar, Crow, Lamb, and Montgomery four especially tragic ones, ruined an incredible amount of talent. Royals changed their views a couple of years ago as top prospects flat told them they wouldn’t sign if training was changed, Zimmer one of the noisier ones. Duffy at least hasn’t missed, he was the lucky one.

          • Jhwendland

            I’m aware of the Royals change of heart on the long toss, but I think Montgomery was the only one where long toss was an issue. The point is that prospects don’t always pan out, especially pitching prospects. You can’t count on three pitching prospects to fill the first, second and third spot in the rotation. We’d be lucky if just one of those three developed into a legitimate front-line starter.

          • jimfetterolf

            Why would you think Monty the only of the 98mph arms affected by change of training? Two of the best screwed up their shoulders trying to maintain velo without training, another couple of the top five had TJS, and the last, from what I hear from the three bloggers who are also experienced in program training, is a two pitch reliever with command issues. My list was only a partial one, but thought it sufficient to show why we had the failures with four potential front of the rotation starters and why that is less of a worry at this point.

  • motleykipp

    Well, I wouldn’t trade Butler for him. Butler is just too good to give away for Franklin. Butler is better than Beltran too at this point in his career. Adding a franklin or Beltran would be fine but do not move Butler.

  • cardsfanatik

    Also, with Beltran in your line-up, should this happen, he is the MASTER of plate discipline. How much of an effect could he have on a young hitter like this?

  • Ed Connealy

    I think Franklin for Butler could be a huge win for the royals. Franklin’s upside and contract control are real solid. The market for full time Dhs is real bad too. I would love to see Beltran and Butler in the same lineup, but IF Beltran were to sign…trading Butler for a real 2Baseman and perhaps another arm would be a great move. Fun stuff guys…Royals off season is SO much more interesting this year.

    • juice_box

      Are you fucking kidding me? The Mariners would be robbing the Royals blind if they pulled Butler for Franklin.

  • KCMOWHOA

    I really think that Moore is set on Colon and Bonafacio at 2nd/UIF. Of course, if we sign Beltran that opens up a distinct possibility of trading Butler which could net a 2nd baseman.

    I’m still very confused about what we would do with Butler. Few teams want him since he’s a strict DH, and I’m at a loss of what exactly his trade value is. Keeping Butler and Beltran is a possiblity, but it almost guarantees that we’ll get rid of Butler before next season to shore up the DH spot for Beltran. Very strange.

  • moretrouble

    Apparently, fans don’t believe Bonifacio can duplicate the fine job he did for KC in the second half last year. For a team that wants to win now, I don’t understand how trading for a kid with less than one year service who hit .225 makes KC a better ballclub next year.

    It doesn’t make sense to sign Beltran and trade Butler, either – if they want to upgrade their offense. It seems like putting Butler and Beltran back to back in the line-up and keeping Bonifacio would be the best option.

    • DownUnderFan

      Got to agree with you, trouble. I don’t see how Franklin is an improvement on the past at 2nd.

      I don’t believe Bonifacio will put up his 6 week 2013 numbers over a full season and needs to be the utility guy. But Franklin is not the answer either.

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  • stand

    I live in Seattle so I saw a lot of Nick Franklin last year. The thing that impressed me most when he came up was is plate discipline. He would not swing at bad pitches. The pitchers figured that out and he slumped at the end of the year; started pressing but I liked him. I would love him as a Royal; he’s definitely no Getz.

    I’d *really* love to see what someone like Kevin Seitzer could do with him. Alas.