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May 27, 2013 at 8:03 AM

Nick Franklin to be called up by Mariners today

Mariners infield prospect Nick Franklin is on his way to Seattle and should join the team in time for today's game. Photo Credit: AP

Mariners infield prospect Nick Franklin is on his way to Seattle and should join the team in time for today’s game. Photo Credit: AP

Nick Franklin has gotten the call and is to be promoted by the Mariners today and brought up from Class AAA. Not much of a surprise, since Franklin was held back from playing for the Rainiers at Reno yesterday.

At whose expense?

Well, as we wrote yesterday following the Mariners win, the argument for keeping Dustin Ackley around is growing thinner by the day. He’s now 0-for-19, looks lost at the plate and keeps falling behind 0-2 and 1-2 in just about every plate appearance.

No way Franklin can do any worse than that.

Again, as we’ve written, the Mariners were prepared three days ago to jettison a minor leaguer off their 40-man roster to create room for Jesus Sucre while they waited for Robert Andino to clear waivers. In the end, they had to DFA Andino — creating the Sucre roster spot — when news leaked that he had been placed on waivers.

So, the minor leaguer survived a few more days, but clearly, the team has a guy it can sacrifice to open a roster spot for Franklin.

The question now is whose major league spot will be sacrificed.

Justin Smoak has that oblique tightness issue and it is still possible he could go on the 15-day DL and make room on the 25-man MLB squad for Franklin without having to send Ackley to AAA. If that’s the case, you could ease Franklin in to MLB playing time and still keep some options open to have Ackley work his way back to where he needs to be at the major league level.

After all, this is exactly what Eric Wedge said was the thing Ackley needed just a few days ago. Time at the MLB level, not in the minors.

Having seen Ackley play the past few days, I tend not to side with Wedge on that one. And it’s possible Wedge’s mind might have changed the past 72 hours based on what he’s seen as well.

The Mariners seem determined to let Brandon Maurer make his MLB start tomorrow and they’ve got Aaron Harang going today. If Harang gets lit up, the Mariners could DFA him right after the game and call up another non-40-man starter, like Jeremy Bonderman, and have him work out of the bullpen tomorrow just in case Maurer goes short distance as well. That’s another possible use for the Smoak roster spot if he goes on the DL and Ackley stays today.

You could always call Bonderman up and ship Ackley out after today’s game.

My guess?

I’m thinking the team feels Smoak might not need DL time. Anyhow, the team will know more once Smoak comes in to the clubhouse this morning.

If that’s the case, they keep him up here and send Ackley down right away.

We’ll see. But the time to call Franklin up was right after yesterday’s game. There are folks in the organization — high up — who believe Franklin is ready for the majors. No sense keeping him in the minors, then complaining in the off-season you can’t get trade value for him because he isn’t MLB seasoned.

Not when your regular second baseman has become a liability in the daily lineup. Ackley’s days aren’t done for good. But he needs to work on some things. The time for schooling at the big league level is supposed to be done for the Mariners. Time to prove it.

 

 

 

Comments | More in roster | Topics: nick franklin; justin smoak; dustin ackley; robert andino

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