FanPost

Franklin the Utilitarian

In the conversation about Nick Franklin and the perceived need to trade him, I became curious as to his value as a true utility player. That is, the kind of guy who starts 3 - 5 nights a week at any one of 2B, SS, 3B, LF, RF. Days he doesn't start he's a legitimate threat off the bench, and as a switch hitter he limits leverage in late-game pitching substitutions. And, of course, should anyone get injured (knock on wood), Franklin to the rescue.

In this scenario Franklin starts between 90 and 120 games, meaning that Cano, Miller, Seager, Ackley, and, I guess, Hart, would start 10-30 games fewer each. You obviously don't like not having those guys play, and Franklin's value is diminished in the outfield, but there's an argument to be made that the flexibility and depth the team gains overcomes that. There's also the possibility that resting those guys slightly more frequently provides a benefit, but I don't know whether there's been any research into that.

The most obvious comp that comes to mind is Mark McLemore, also formerly a starting second baseman, who from 2001 - 2003 started about 110 games a season on average, distributed between SS, 3B, LF, and CF. He also DH'd from time to time if memory serves, and gave Boone a rest for a few games. If you'll remember, Mark McLemore was awesome.

So, let me put it to you, LL, am I completely insane to think this could work? The biggest hurdle in my mind would be Franklin's ability to play outfield, but for a guy who's mastered second, I have to imagine LF and RF would be comparatively easier. He'd at least cover more ground than Hart and Morrison.

Let me be clear that my intention with this post is not to say the M's should do this, but more to muse that the M's could do this, and that doing this might actually be a good idea. What do you guys think?

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