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.
With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.
Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.
The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.
Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.