The Mets are still scouting M’s SS Nick Franklin, while also monitoring competition between D-Backs SS Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings, multiple sources told columnist John Harper (Daily News, Mar. 12).
According to Harper, Arizona would likely want Mets C prospect Kevin Plawecki and RHP Rafael Montero in a deal for Gregorius or Owings.
Meanwhile, as of late February, the Mets still had strong interest in signing free-agent SS Stephen Drew (NY Post, Feb. 25). They reportedly offered him a one-year, $9.5 million deal, but he’s still looking for more money and years (Heyman, Feb. 21).
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
In regards to Franklin, I’m hearing from people scouting him that he leaves a lot to be desired on defense. He’s better on the infield than Wilmer Flores, but not as good as Ruben Tejada. They say he can make the throw to first, his glove is average at best, and he’s OK with the double play, but he struggles with positioning, where and when to be there.
“If Franklin is your every-day shortstop, it’s because you’re OK with having a more offensive-minded shortstop,” MLBPipeline.com’s Jonathan Mayo told me in February, saying he grades below average on every tool but his bat.
The Mariners wanted a young pitcher for Franklin last December, I heard a Vic Black, Jake deGrom-type, or someone similar to the type of arm Sandy Alderson had been asking in return for Ike Davis. I can’t see the Mets making this deal, especially with some injuries in the rotation and a lack of depth in the bullpen.
Meanwhile, it’s clear Drew wants at least a two-year deal, so he doesn’t have to be a free agent again next winter. The Mets are not going to budge until they no longer have a choice. Opening Day is 19 days a way, so there is still time to negotiate. Also, it seems he’s more than willing to wait to until after the June draft to sign a contract, at which point signing him will no longer cost draft-pick compensation.
At the very least, I suppose the Mets could go with Tejada and Flores for two months, see how they progress, and then look to sign Drew as a free agent after June. This may actually be the plan, if you want to call it that…