Aug 15, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Nick Franklin (20) reacts after he stuck out and left the bases loaded during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Mariners sticking with Nick Franklin

For whatever reason, a lot of Mariners pundits decided to write about Nick Franklin today. Greg Johns wrote about it on his blog today. So did Geoff Baker for the Times. So did Brian Elsner for Wait For It Seattle. Why today?

Well, he did have a tough two-out bases loaded strikeout that could have completely altered the outcome of the game yesterday. Also, Robby Thompson decided to talk about it a lot today. Here’s what Thompson said, per Johns:

“This game will humble you in a hurry,” Thompson said. “Just when you think you’ve got it made up here, it can come back and bite you in a hurry and sometimes it bites you hard and long. He’s kind of finding out a little bit about that right now.

And this:

“Even as confident as he was down below, he was confident up here earlier and he’s lost a little bit of that. He’s lost a little of his swagger. But he’ll get it back. He’s a young kid and it’s part of the growing pains and learning situations he’s going to have to go through.”

And also this:

“When young guys get up here, you’re going to be tested to see if you can hit a fastball. If you can’t, you’re going to keep getting them. Well, he’s a pretty good fastball hitter. Now all the sudden, word gets out and they’re throwing breaking balls in fastball counts and he has not really made that adjustment yet. That should come with time.”

So basically what Thompson is saying is that Franklin is going through growing pains and he’ll eventually snap out of it. He’s also saying that Nick will eventually learn to hit a breaking ball.

I’m fine with all of that. He’s definitely in a huge slump, there’s no denying that. Since July 31, he’s hitting .102 and since July 1, he’s hitting .199. So really, he’s been a good major leaguer for a month. But he definitely has major league talent, and moving him down to triple-A wouldn’t make any sense.

First of all, who do you promote in his place? Carlos Truinfel? Probably not. That ship has likely sailed. Ty Kelly could be an interesting experiement. The Mariners acquired him when they traded Alex Liddi to the Orioles in July. Since then, Kelly is hitting .307 in 140 ABs (38 games). However, the M’s have much more invested and Franklin’s big league success than they do in a career-minor leaguer like Kelly. That move would send the wrong message and require a DFA, probably of Truinfel.

Moreover, Tacoma only has 18 games left, so Franklin wouldn’t get much time to settle back in before immediately coming back up in early September. If the Mariners want to see Kelly in the majors, they probably can wait until September. This team isn’t playing meaningful games right now anyhow.

The Mariners will have to stick with Franklin, as their future at second base is strongly entrenched with him. Franklin is too good and too promising to let a slump like this doom his solid future career.


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  • maqman

    Ty Kelly tied a PCL record with 5 walks in the extra innings game yesterday, he now has 37 BB against 28 SO and a .450 OBP in 142 PA. Him not being on the 40 man is a problem but I’d like to see him up with the big club in September. He might light a fire under Franklin. He’s 25 years old but not a washed up 25 by any means.

  • pointsette mcdonald

    Three pundit writers focus on Franklin is stupid like. Hope the kid has big shoulders to carry the team because between the veterans and the bullpen problems the ‘young guys’ will have to play like superstar veterans.

    Tired of the Seattle Times writers. Me and my small group of friends and business associates are boycotting Seattle Times sports writers. Maybe the focus should be to track what they are writing. The Times should replace them with fresh, innovative and baseball smart guys.