The Orioles might have been boring on the field on Thursday as their road lineup, bereft of most of the regulars, was shut out by the Yankees in Tampa, but that doesn't mean that nothing happened in Birdland on the day. One thing that cropped up towards the end of the game was a tidbit from Jon Heyman that the O's have had some discussions with the Mariners about displaced second baseman Nick Franklin. According to Heyman, the O's, Mets, and Rays have all been talking to the Mariners about Franklin.
It's seemed like Franklin's time in Seattle was probably numbered ever since they signed Robinson Cano and there have been assorted trade scenarios bandied about concerning Franklin, a 23-year-old switch hitter who batted .225/.303/.382 in 102 games last season. He appeared at different places in top 100 prospect lists prior to 2013, including #72 on Baseball Prospectus. He was #28 the year prior, falling because he struggled higher in the minors, particularly when batting right-handed.
Young players can always be better than they first show, of course. But it seems that more often they are basically what they first show you. Then again, he's only just turned 23, and he had to hit in the offensive wasteland that is Safeco Field, and...
In all likelihood, the Orioles aren't very serious about Franklin. The rule of thumb about baseball rumors is that most of the time they amount to nothing, and with the O's giving every indication that they're confident in Ryan Flaherty, why would they need to make a move like that? With Jonathan Schoop having an impressive spring, the need for a future second baseman may be lessened as well. If it's some low-cost move, then hey, if Dan Duquette wants to make it, great.
With Franklin's recent high-rated prospect pedigree, it's not likely to be a low-cost move, though. That being the case, unless the Orioles really believe he would improve with a change of scenery - after all, Seattle has been a dysfunctional mess - then it seems hard to believe they would trade what the Mariners would ask to get the deal done. So it's probably only worth talking about because it's March 13 and there's nothing else to talk about.
Some other tidbits from the day:
- Adam Jones became a dad on Wednesday afternoon. It's a boy. He'd flown back to Baltimore to be with his fiancee, who was scheduled to have labor induced Wednesday morning. Manager Buck Showalter told reporters that Jones is expected to play in Sunday's game.
- Pitching prospect Mike Wright was said to be battling elbow tendonitis, but that didn't stop him from throwing two scoreless innings in a Triple-A game on Thursday. He told MASN's Steve Melewski that his elbow felt great.
- Matt Wieters is expected to be back on the field for Saturday's game after rolling his ankle on Tuesday.
- Suk-min Yoon's return to Florida was delayed by weather, but expected to return and should make his O's spring debut on Saturday.
- The Red Sox have already announced their rotation for the start of the regular season. In the first three games, the O's will be facing off against Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Felix Doubront.