We learned last month that the Mets and Rays had been in touch with the Mariners about a trade for infielder Nick Franklin, but CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Orioles are also interested.
Baltimore would be a logical fit for Franklin, as Ryan Flaherty, Jonathan Schoop, Jemile Weeks, and Alexi Casilla are the current internal options to play second base. He would likely be in the mix at second base with the Rays as well, but the Mets are scouting him as a shortstop this spring. However, there’s still some question about his ability to handle the position defensively at the major league level.
Franklin is competing with Brad Miller for the starting shortstop job with the Mariners this spring, but he remains the underdog despite posting some impressive numbers in Cactus League play. He came into today’s action hitting .304 (7-for-23) with one home run and three doubles in eight games. While he’s probably not going to win the starting job over Miller, the solid showing can only help his trade value.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.
Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”
On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.
Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.