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.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.