Ever since I published the piece on Franklin and the Mets, things have started moving quickly. Jon Heyman reports that the Rays are (and have been) in on Nick Franklin, and that's a surprise to absolutely nobody. It does confirm that the Mariners are probably still shopping Franklin rather than Brad Miller, but the most interesting development here is what Adam Rubin passed along.
Hello! Hellickson is supposed to be out until late May, so no wonder the Mariners balked at the deal. Hellickson massively outperformed his peripherals in 2011 and 2012, then after posting his best FIP and xFIP of the last three years, he promptly blew up and saw two years of regression hit him at once. Hellickson may be one of those guys who constantly tricks his peripherals, but it'd take a deeper look. Before 2013, he was insane at stranding runners.
But that's not necessarily what this means. It could also mean that the Rays are suddenly reluctant to deal some of their other pile of arms due to the uncertainty about Hellickson. It could mean a lot of things. It could very well mean Alex Colome. It probably doesn't mean David Price, but who knows. Never count out ninja Z with a stealth attack trade...Trader Jack is still in there somewhere.
Colome is the most likely piece here, though he's not as good of a return as Rafael Montero would be. He's buried among the Rays stockpile of arms, but could slide right into the back of the Mariners rotation. The M's aren't getting Jake Odorizzi, and they're not getting Desmond Jennings, even though the Rays have an outfielder to spare with Jennings, David DeJesus, Wil Myers, and Matt Joyce. Joyce is possible, but the last thing the Mariners need is another defensively challenged left-handed OF/DH.
Sometimes when Jon Heyman gets a hold of a rumor, it happens soon after. The Rubin tweet confirms that the Mariners have had active, close to completion talks with at least one team regarding Nick Franklin. Something is probably coming, one way or another. If anything, this should put some fears to rest about Nick Franklin beating out Brad Miller.