Dustin Ackley, Nick Franklin and the Mariners Second Base Dilemma
By Matt Seto
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Trade Ackley or Franklin
If it is Jack’s plan to put together a quick-but-competitive team, trading either Ackley or Franklin seems like a good place to start. As Sam pointed out last week, the Ackley/Franklin combo provides the Mariners with a lot of flexibility in terms of trade bait.
Its hard to determine who would fetch more return in a market value trade. While Ackley has that unfortunate smear of being demoted back to Tacoma last year, he was able to prove that he can be good. Both 2012 and the latter-half of 2013 were representative of what we expect from Dustin Ackley. His current contract has him making only $1.5 mil a year, so he isn’t a huge hit to anyone’s wallet, it could make him much easier to shop around at the winter meetings this year.
On the other hand, Franklin went into 2013 as one of the higher rated prospects within the Mariners organization. As a top-ten prospect, Franklin figures to be a part of a team rebuild, even if it isn’t in Seattle. The fact that he came up to the Mariners in May and played through to the end of the season gives him nearly a complete season of major league work.
In that time his triple slash of .225/.303/.382 proved he was at least capable of holding his own against major league pitching. Those numbers aren’t stellar by any stretch of the imagination, but they aren’t all bad either. The big slump that Franklin saw from August to September contributed greatly to those depressed stats. Prior to that he was mentioned in more than one Rookie of the Year conversation.
The problem with Franklin is that he only has one year of service in the majors, and (while good), there were still some stains. Some would call his mid-season slump worrisome and indicative of a sophomore jinx in the works. Even more concerning are his fielding skills. Franklin was charged with 12 errors in 2013, only three behind Kyle Seager (15) for the team lead. Granted, Seager is excused from making occasional errors if he can continue to hit 20+ HRs each season.
Verdict: If Jack is going to trade away for some big names, you can bet that one of these two will be a part of it. It’s unfortunate, but it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to keep two second basemen on the roster.