The red-hot Oakland A’s are still searching for a second baseman to help them sail into the postseason. The Athletics’ typical second basemen, Eric Sogard and Nick Punto, are just not cutting it. Sogard is rarely starting these days due to his .194 batting average and Punto is not doing much better with only a .209 AVG and 2 home runs. Additionally, Sogard’s strength is his defense, but he made his first error in 63 games on Monday night.
Since Alberto Callaspo’s bat had been a little hotter than Sogard’s and Punto’s, he had recently become the A’s starting second baseman. However, he strained his hamstring before the All-Star break and is currently on the 15-day disabled list. Without anywhere else to turn, the Oakland A’s are stuck with this weak link at second.
However, there have been rumors circling lately that the Athletics are interested in Seattle Mariners’ second baseman Nick Franklin. Franklin played with the Mariners in 2013 but was bumped down to Triple-A this year due to the acquisition of Robinson Cano. Since the Oakland A’s do not have anymore top prospects to trade away, it would make sense that they target a second tier second baseman like Franklin since players like Chase Utley and Ben Zobrist come with too high a price tag.
Franklin did not have great success in 2013 in the major leagues, but he has been producing in Triple-A this year. He currently is batting .299 in Triple-A Tacoma with nine home runs and an .871 OPS. This switch hitter can play both second base and shortstop and has proven that he can get on base consistently. At only 23 years old, Franklin may be a perfect fit for the Oakland A’s.
The only problem is that the Seattle Mariners are also in the American League West and they are currently still in a playoff spot. It would not make sense for the Mariners to trade if it were to strengthen the Oakland’s team since they are division rivals. But, if Seattle were trade Franklin, why would they?
With Cano at second base, the Mariners might not see a need for Franklin anymore. Additionally, it has been rumored that they do not trust Franklin’s defense. They might also agree to this transaction if Seattle believes that they are coming out of trade with the better deal. The Mariners need another starting pitcher, and Tommy Milone or Drew Pomeranz could both easily fill that role in the Mariners starting rotation.
Ultimately, I do not think that the Mariners are going to make a deal with the Oakland A’s. Even if they do not see any potential in Franklin, Seattle has to assume that a change of scenery and coaching staff could possibly mold Franklin into a star second baseman. Additionally, the Mariners do not have that much depth at second base and they may want to keep Franklin around for backup especially since he has been successful in Triple-A lately.
Since Seattle currently has a playoff spot, it would not make sense for them to trade with Athletics and make the A’s stronger. Perhaps the Oakland A’s could offer Seattle a deal they could not refuse. But this is not likely since the Oakland A’s traded away most of their prized prospects in the deal with the Chicago Cubs.
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