This may be a quick little blog post since we don’t meet with Lloyd McClendon till later today with the night game.
Randy Wolf will be getting the start tonight against one of his former teams – the San Diego Padres.
There are 12 days and 12 Cactus League games remaining until opening day. Over that period, the Mariners must decide who will be their starting shortstop, figure out their final few spots in their rotation, determine the remaining few spots on the roster.
Manager Lloyd McClendon maintains the shortstop race is even. Miller has played in 11 games this spring and is hitting .367 with two triples and three homers. More importantly, he’s looked really solid defensively, converting all of the routine plays and making a few tough plays.
Franklin has appeared in 10 games, hitting .276 with three doubles and a homer. He’s also looked solid defensively. Defensively, he’s appeared more than capable in the small sample size. It hasn’t been flashy, but steady.
While McClendon says they are even, it’s logical to think that Miller started slightly ahead in the competition since he is the incumbent and the organization felt he was the better option there last season.
Sources said Scott Boras is in Arizona for the next few days. I’m sure he will be meeting with the Mariners at some point to discuss Franklin’s future. There is a thought he has to be moved via trade soon. It’s something I think Franklin believes as well. But really, the Mariners don’t have to do that immediately if the offers are subpar. With the rash of pitching injuries lately, teams are likely to be a little hesitant to give up major league ready pitching prospects. And remember, Franklin’s value is still largely based off potential. So what the Mariners might receive in return might not be as much as you expect.
I know McClendon mentioned that Franklin and Miller could both make the team, but I really believe that would be counterproductive to Franklin’s development.
I know there has been a large portion of the fanbase demanding that Franklin be moved to the outfield to maximize his value. Scott Weber of Lookout Landing is the latest to write about it. I can sort of understand the thinking. Franklin supposedly even played a little left field in a few games during some select games in high school. The Mariners have made no inclination that this is a possibility. And if it had been, it would have been prudent to have started any conversion before spring training. At this point, I think Franklin has more value to the Mariners as an infielder – even in Triple A. The Mariners have already done this conversion with Dustin Ackley – to so-so results. Franklin has a little better arm than Ackley, but doesn’t run nearly as well.
Basically, you are converting him to become an average defensive outfielder – probably only left field – at best, with the hitting potential that doesn’t completely project to be consistent with what is expected from a corner outfielder. You’ve done it once with Ackley, doing it again with Franklin seems unnecessarily repetitive. It certainly would decrease his value to other teams. To me (and I can be wrong and often am), his most value is as a second baseman or infielder that can hit with a little bit of power. It’s what would bring the most in return. Is there a chance that Franklin goes to another team and produces? Yes. But the hope for the Mariners is that they get something in return equally valuable to them that also produces. Obviously, the track record for that hasn’t been good in the last few years. But that should be the hope for this situation.
I don’t know if any of that makes sense.
It’s also weird to note that Boras represents Franklin, Stephen Drew and Jose Iglesias. Not sure if that affects anything.
There may be a few more cuts today for the Mariners.
I don’t see Roenis Elias making the starting rotation out of spring. But I certainly think he’s a guy that’s helped himself this spring and we’ll see him Class AAA Tacoma.
Hisashi Iwakuma meets with the hand specialist today. So he may get to start throwing today.
Here’s Bob’s story on Andy Van Slyke and his influence on the Mariners’ outfielders.
ESPN’s sweet spot blog discusses who is a better second baseman – Robinson Cano or Dustin Pedroia.
Jarrod Parker of the A’s joins the list of pitchers headed for Tommy John surgery.