Mariners call up shortstop prospect Nick Franklin, demote Dustin Ackley to minors

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Seattle shortstops are just barely out-hitting National League pitchers this season and the Mariners have finally decided to do something about it. Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that they’re calling up Triple-A shortstop Nick Franklin.

Franklin ranked as a top 100 prospect by both Baseball America and MLB.com coming into the season and has been fantastic at Triple-A, hitting .324 with a .440 on-base percentage and more walks (30) than strikeouts (20) in 39 games.

He’s actually played more second base than shortstop in Tacoma, which suggests the dropoff defensively compared to slick-fielding Brendan Ryan would be pretty huge, but Ryan has hit just .198 in 181 games since the beginning of last season. It’s also possible that Franklin will play second base because …

To make room for Franklin on the roster Divish says the Mariners are demoting former No. 2 overall pick and one-time stud prospect Dustin Ackley to Triple-A. Ackley had a promising rookie season in 2011, but has hit just .221 with a .599 OPS in 198 games since then while serving as Seattle’s regular second baseman.

White Sox, Rockies, “frontrunners” for Yasiel Puig

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Yasiel Puig, unexpectedly, remained unemployed for the entire offseason. But now, a week or so into spring training, it’s appearing as though he may soon have a job. That’s the word from Hector Gomez of Z101, who reports that the Rockies and White Sox have emerged as “frontrunners” to sign the guy.

Puig hit a .252/.302/.475 (92 OPS+) for the Reds before being traded to the Indians. Once in Cleveland his performance improved, however, as he hit .297/.377/.423 (109 OPS+). Definitely a down year overall, and a far cry from the sort of superstar performance he showcased when he first broke into the league, but he’s just 29 and still profiles as an above average big league outfielder, on defense and at the plate.

He’d certainly benefit from playing in the thin air of Colorado. He’d also look pretty spiffy in the White Sox’ lineup, though he’d likely have to assume a platoon role there. Which, given that he as better in that role toward the end of his tenure in Los Angeles, would not be the worst idea. He didn’t like it all that much, but at the moment, he needs to find a job.

Anyway, look for Puig to be off the market soon.