The Mets could make a play for Nick Franklin

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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.

Cardinals tab Miles Mikolas for Opening Day start

Miles Mikolas
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The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.

The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.

Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.