Utility man Nick Franklin was DFA’d by the Tampa Bay Rays earlier this week and the Milwaukee Brewers won the claim! It also means reliever Michael Blazek will either find a new home, head to Colorado Springs, or become a free agent. This move also may have bigger implications for the Brewers roster.
Nick Franklin was once viewed as a top prospect. Going 20/20 while hitting .281 with a .351 OBP in Single-A will garner attention and get one’s name added to a lot of lists. Franklin succeeded at Double-A, and then at Triple-A. Before he knew it, he was a 22-year old rookie receiving a lot of playing time for the Seattle Mariners.
Franklin did manage to bash 12 homers in his first 102 games in a Mariners uniform, but he failed to show the plate discipline that had his name on so many lists when he was at the lower levels.
He bounced between Seattle and Tacoma a few times, before getting dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays in the three-team deal that netted the Tigers ace David Price.
Between a few minor injuries and subpar performance at the Major League level, Franklin was shuttled between Tampa Bay and Durham for a few seasons, and ended up as a surprise DFA at the end of March.
Franklin’s arrival in Milwaukee is a curious move. Brewers manager Craig Counsell has already showed a penchant for tinkering with his lineup only three games into the 2017 season. All 13 Brewers position players have started a game already. Franklin adds a versatile piece to his bench for sure, but isn’t Hernan Perez already viewed as a ‘Jack-Of-All-Trades’ utility man?
Having Franklin on the roster means the Brewers will have two players who can be used to further adjust and twist the everyday lineup. Instead of allowing the younger guys to settle in and play the same position and hit in the same spot, Counsell will be more likely to adjust the lineup and play matchups instead of allowing the current crop of kids to develop.
GM David Stearns has done well with the majority of the ‘low-cost, low-risk’ deals he’s worked out, but giving Counsell another versatile may not be the best move for the young Brewers lineup.
Michael Blazek may very well accept his assignment to Colorado Springs, instead of opting for free agency. It’s unlikely that he’s grabbed by another team, and any contract he’d get anywhere else would like be a Minor League deal.
Blazek came out of nowhere to post a 2.43 ERA in 45 appearances in 2015, but he regressed in 2016, and actually wound up back in Triple-A for part of the season. His fastball can get up to the 94-95 MPH range, but he’s not exactly overpowering and lacks secondary pitches to truly be an effective middle man. If he wasn’t throwing his slider for strikes, he was hard to watch at times.
What do you think about adding Nick Franklin to the Milwaukee Brewers roster? Good addition? ‘Meh’ addition? Let us know in the comments section.