Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported last week that the Mariners were likely to trade either Nick Franklin or Brad Miller by Opening Day and speculated that the Mets could make a play for one of them. Well, he was told by a “Mets insider” today that the team does indeed see a possible match with Franklin.
According to Rubin, the Mets had talks with the Mariners as far back as December’s Winter Meetings. With Seattle reportedly shopping Franklin and on the lookout for young pitching, the expectation is that negotiations will pick up again over the next month. Rubin mentioned a possible Rafael Montero-for-Franklin swap, but that’s merely speculation and there’s no indication that the two sides are actually discussing such a trade. Still, the Mets have plenty of young pitching on the way, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them use some of that depth in order to acquire a bat.
There are doubts about whether Franklin has the defensive ability to be a full-time shortstop in the majors, so a deal is no sure thing. As of now, the Mets are planning on going with Ruben Tejada as their starting shortstop, though signing free agent Stephen Drew remains a possibility.
Franklin, who turns 23 in March, hit .225/.303/.382 with 12 home runs, 45 RBI, and six stolen bases over 102 games in his first taste of the majors last year. He made 90 starts at second base and two at shortstop.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.