Report: Tigers to make a “serious run” at Mariners shortstop Nick Franklin

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Mariners shortstop Nick Franklin has been named in trade rumors throughout the off-season and into the spring. The Mets have been one team strongly linked to him. But with the Tigers hurting at the position after learning that Jose Iglesias will not be ready for the start of the regular season — at least — Ollie Connolly of OutsidePitchMLB is reporting that the Tigers are expected to make a “serious run” at acquiring Franklin.

The Tigers were expected to have significant interest in free agent Stephen Drew as well. Drew seems like a better fit for the Tigers than Franklin, as Drew only requires a commitment of one year and is overall more valuable, which is important for a team poised for a World Series run as the Tigers are. The Tigers, though, would have to relinquish their first-round draft pick, 23rd overall, in order to sign Drew, which GM Dave Dombrowski may feel is too high a price to pay for a stopgap solution.

Franklin slashed .225/.303/.382 in 412 plate appearances in his rookie season last year. Drew slashed .253/.333/.443 in 501 PA with the Red Sox. Depending on which defensive metrics used, Drew also grades out as a better defender.

Announcement: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $100,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Opening Day’s games (March 31). It’s $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts at 1:05pm ET on Opening Day. Here’s the FanDuel link.

The Mets will not commit to Matt Harvey making his next start

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Matt Harvey has had a bad and injury-filled couple of years. He hit spring training in decent physical shape, however, and there was much talk about a possible Harvey Renaissance. At times in February, March and in his first start in early April he looked alright too.

That has changed, however. Over his last three starts he has allowed 14 runs on 25 hits in 16 innings, with his latest stinker being last night’s six runs on eight hits outing against the Braves. The poor pitching has resulted in Mets manager Mickey Calloway not committing to Harvey taking his next turn in the rotation. Or, as Ken Davidoff reports in the Post, not commenting when asked if Harvey would, indeed, make his next start.

It’s bad enough when the manager will not make such a commitment, but the Mets pitching coach, Dave Eiland, made comments after the game suggesting the possibility of the Mets putting Harvey in the bullpen. The comments were not pointed, but this suggests his thinking, I’d assume:

While neither Callaway nor Eiland would tip his hand about Harvey’s immediate future, Eiland, who most recently worked for the Royals, smiled when a reporter asked him if he had ever switched a starter to the bullpen under duress. “Yeah, a guy by the name of Wade Davis,” he said. “It turned out pretty well for him.”

That’s a generous way of putting it and, for Harvey, such comments could soften the blow to his ego if, indeed, the club decides to move him to the bullpen. It’s not a demotion, he could claim, it’s the team giving him a chance to regain his past stardom in a different role!

However, whether it was because he was stinging from a poor performance or because he simply hates the idea, Harvey seemed to reject the possibility out of hand, saying, “I’m a starting pitcher. I’ve always been a starting pitcher. That’s my mindset.”

Looks like he’s either going to have to change his mindset or else he’s not going to have a place to pitch in New York for very much longer.