The D-Backs may look to trade 24-year-old SS Didi Gregorius, since fellow prospect Chris Owings is the front-runner to win Arizona’s starting shortstop competition (Bowden, Mar. 17).
The Mets have been monitoring Gregorius and Owings, while also scouting Mariners’ 2B-SS Nick Franklin, multiple sources recently told columnist John Harper (Daily News, Mar. 12).
The Mariners are likely going to trade Franklin before Opening Day, according to industry sources (ESPN NY, Feb. 20).
Harper believes Arizona would want Mets C prospect Kevin Plawecki and RHP Rafael Montero in a deal for Gregorius or Owings. Meanwhile, the Orioles and Rays are also interested in Franklin to be a second baseman, sources told Jon Heyman (CBS Sports, Mar. 13).
There is speculation the Tigers may also look in to Franklin, Gregorius and Owings, while also pursuing free-agent SS Stephen Drew, now that their shortstop, Jose Iglesias, may miss most of 2014 with shin injury.
Drew’s agent, Scott Boras, said recently that he and the Mets have talked, but Drew is still seeking a multi-year deal, despite Opening Day being two weeks away.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
I’d say the chance of acquiring Franklin for, say, Vic Black, would be 50-50 before Opening Day. In the event other teams are in the mix, Seattle may ask for Rafael Montero, at which point there is no chance of a deal. Otherwise, I think Ruben Tejada is the starting shortstop for the Mets and I end up never talking about Franklin again. More important, in talking to people close to the team, it doesn’t sound like the Mets are crazy about him, at least not to the extent that it’s worth giving up a good, young pitcher to get him.
Meanwhile, the situation in Detroit is going to give Drew more reason to hold out for a multi-year deal. My educated guess is that, if the Mets and Drew were able to work out a deal, it would have happened by now. Instead, if Drew has no options in a few weeks, and Tejada is a total mess, maybe they can find a renewed match? But, these days, with the Tigers, Orioles and maybe the Dodgers in play, I can’t see Drew settling on a one-year, $9.5 million deal… at least not yet.
As for Arizona, this looks like the best fit. The problem is that it may be too early for a trade. There is no pressure on Arizona to make a move. They can send Gregorius to Triple-A and feel out their rotation through April and May. In the event Alderson has yet to acquire a shortstop, and if Arizona is playing well and still has a hole in its rotation, and if Tejada continues to stumble, I think a really good trade can be made sending a shortstop to Queens and an established pitcher to the desert.