The clock is ticking and the doors are slowly closing for Mets general manager Sandy Alderson.
The Mets' current situation at shortstop is still feeble and with only two weeks left in spring training, Alderson must be more aggressive in trading for Seattle's Nick Franklin before another team acquires him and uses the 22-year-old asset in the middle of their infield.
Along with the Mets, the Rays and Orioles are now also interested in Nick Franklin's strong potential for hitting and fielding, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports .
Heyman writes, "The likelihood of a trade somewhere seems strong at this point. Discussions are ongoing. Franklin was No. 4 on the list of likely spring trade candidates here a couple days ago."
New York's Ruben Tejada, 24, was supposed to be the answer at shortstop for the Mets last year after hitting .289/.333/.351 with 134 hits in 464 at bats in 2012, but failed to meet those expectations in 2013 with an injury-plagued campaign that caused him to play in only 57 games and hit .202/.259/.260 with zero home runs and 10 RBIs.
The underachieving performance of Tejada in spring training thus far (2 for 18, .111/.158/.167) is a major area of concern at the shortstop position for the Mets. However, while the Mets' interest in Franklin should be growing due to Tejada's lack of production, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that the Mets have not had recent "substantive" talks about Franklin with Seattle since the Winter Meetings in December.
According to John Harper of the New York Daily News, the Mets continue to scout Nick Franklin while they examine whether the natural second basemen can successfully play at shortstop long term.
Although it's been indicated that Franklin's ability at shortstop is limited, many scouts still consider him "reliable" with a sure glove at the position. The value New York would be getting from Franklin's solid bat and defensive skills overlook his potential to suffer at shortstop on this current Mets roster. Franklin provides depth to the middle infield and the backend of New York's projected Opening Day lineup and is surely a stronger option than Tejada, whose bat has always struggled to produce.
A rookie just last season, Franklin showed promising value at second base when he committed only 12 errors in 477 chances, posting a .975 fielding percentage. In addition, Franklin impressed with his bat, hitting 12 homers and driving in 45 runs in 102 games as a rookie.
Still looking over the idea of trading a pitching prospect for Franklin, Sandy Alderson is taking longer than usual in getting something finalized in ink. Whether it is the uncertainty that Franklin can play effectively at shortstop, or the unwillingness to give up a pitching prospect in return, something needs to get done while the opportunity still presents itself.
The Mets' farming system has an excess amount of pitching prospects in order to satisfy the Mariners' needs and Franklin has already proved he is a better option than Tejada is for the Mets.
If Alderson waits this one out too long, it could end up biting him in the back.
He needs to pursue Nick Franklin before Baltimore or Tampa Bay does, and he needs to pick up his phone now, before it's too late.