Seattle is in the market for a middle-of-the-lineup hitter. In fact, some say Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik is desperate. The GM offered Arizona a package that included one of his top minor league starting pitchers, Taijuan Walker, and a top infield prospect, Nick Franklin, for the services of two-time All-Star Justin Upton.
After the Diamondbacks agreed, the veteran outfielder invoked the no-trade clause in contract to shoot the Mariners down.
Maybe it is time for Zduriencik to talk to Nationals GM Mike Rizzo. If ever there were ever a no-glove, big-stick prototype for designated hitter, his name is Michael Morse. In his three years in Washington, Morse has hit .295, with an on-base percentage and slugging average of .839. He could relieve at first or either corner outfield.
Walker pitched for the Jackson Generals in the Southern League (AA) last year. He struck out 118 in 126 innings, but was challenged by hitters yielding 1.37 hits or walks per 9 innings and a 4.69 ERA.
On the other hand, Walker will not turn 21 until August.
Franklin, a second baseman, split the 2012 year between Jackson and AAA Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League. He only hit .243 in the PCL, but followed that with a .338 batting average and .942 OPS in the Arizona Fall League.
Franklin turns 22 March 2.
Ideally, Washington could do much better in a deal for a slugger. But the Nats are looking to restock their farm system after trading so many prospects away for talented major leaguers in recent years. Since the M’s traded Morse away after the 2008 season, it might be nice to see them cash in on “home grown” star.