Seattle Mariners middle infielder Nick Franklin finds himself in a very tough spot. He’s got a great bat, one of their best young ones, but his entrance into the majors is being blocked at both of his preferred positions, second base and shortstop.
The M’s optioned Franklin to the minors after spring training, and it looks like if he wants to make his way to the big club anytime soon, he’s going to have to learn a new position.
Seattle just spent a Kingdome’s ransom on bringing Robinson Cano in to play second base, and Brad Miller has a good enough bat and a much better glove than Franklin at shortstop. The chances of Franklin getting past either of those obstacles (barring injury) is slim.
The Mariners could look to moving Franklin to third base in the minors, and give him a chance to learn the position while continuing to improve on his defensive skills.
Franklin is a switch-hitter, and is three years younger than the Mariners current third baseman, Kyle Seager. There are certainly no complaints with Seager’s play at third or his consistent bat, but he could command some big dollars when the 2014 season is over.
Seager is making $540,000 this year and will be up for a new deal next season. At 26 years old in the prime of his career, that could get pricey for the Mariners. Having Franklin ready to jump in at third would be a great insurance policy against inflation.