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Why Nick Franklin hasn't been traded – a few reasonable explanations

Jeff Gross

The Fermi paradox is one of the most interesting scientific theories I’ve come across in a while. Given LL’s forward-thinking and well-educated community, I’d guess a fair number of you have heard of it. And I’d guess a fair number of you haven’t.

For this latter group, a brief rundown: it’s a paradox that may explain why we, as humans, haven’t had any contact with extraterrestrial life. The popular reason for "of course there’s intelligent life out there" is that, given the size of the universe and the infinite number of stars—many of which likely have Earth-like planets—there’s bound to be someone out there. But based on every study put forth thus far, it should only take some tens of millions of years to develop interstellar travel—and given the age of the universe (much, much older than that), it all should be colonized by now.

Basically: if it were going to happen, it would’ve already happened. And that’s where some people seem to be regarding a potential quality trade of Nick Franklin. The theories that could potentially circumvent Fermi’s paradox are wild, with a big one being the possibility that life is an illusion and we’re all living inside a simulation.

The reasons circumventing Nick Franklin’s "If it were going to happen, it would’ve happened" are much more simple—though I wouldn’t completely rule out any overlap here. But we’ll look only at the basics.

I’ve seen this sentence written a few times before with regards to Nick Franklin: "If the Mariners could get a x-win [pitcher/outfielder] for Nick Franklin, they would’ve done it already." And while the gist of that may be true—it’s obvious that no one’s put forth a good enough offer to pry Franklin from the Mariners quite yet—but there’s an easy way to explain that, and it doesn’t necessarily include the Mariners lowering their standards.

This is something I've mentioned specifically in the comments before, and alluded to in another post so my apologies for the redundancy but I wanted to bring it out here: it wouldn't surprise me if the Mariners had already received good trade proposals, ones we here on LL would be fine with, but they've turned held off on pulling the trigger. Why?

Jack Zduriencik and the rest of the Mariners' brass want to be sure in what they have. Maybe the Mets have put forth a standing offer of Juan Lagares and filler. Why would you take that when you're in the process of deciding whether or not you already have a 2- or 3-win center fielder in Abraham Almonte?

Or, maybe the Mets' current offer is Rafael Montero and stuff—the Mariners are lacking in quality pitching depth, yes, but it'd be nice to know for sure just how much of a lingering effect injuries to Hisashi Iwakuma's finger and Taijuan Walker's shoulder may have on them throughout the course of the season. Yes, Iwakuma's splint is off and Walker is already throwing, but they're not in the clear yet. Even another week to 10 days would provide a much clearer picture of the situation.

And, it isn't as if they're in wait-and-see mode. You can find tweets like this from ESPN New York's Adam Rubin just about everyday.

But of course, the time for reconnaissance—internal and external—must soon be coming to an end. They've been at this for weeks, and if a pre-Opening Day deal were to come to fruition, you'd assume clubs must eventually come to a point where they've seen all there is to see and take action accordingly.

However, that leads us to another big point, and why it isn't the end of the world if the Mariners drag this Nick Franklin trade saga into the regular season: from here, there can only be more suitors. And while injuries are pointed to as the biggest reason, there's an even more important one: trading a quality player for a prospect, and effectively telling your fans you're punting the season a week or two before Opening Day, isn't the easiest thing to do.

And while you may say "Well why didn't they do it earlier, as soon as they acquired Robinson Cano?", a similar philosophy is at play.

Here, an example, the Toronto Blue Jays could certainly stand to upgrade their team at second base, and get younger in the process. And you know who would be great to get for a package that includes Nick Franklin? Jose Bautista. But a year after going all-in, the Jays aren't sellers. Not right now.

But for them, there's no running from the truth. They're the fourth-best team in a stacked AL East. It isn't something they're probably all too fond of facing right now, but that may come easier once the calendar flips over to June and hopes of finally fulfilling all of 2013's potential are a distant memory. Or maybe they're rolling and nothing happens. I don't know, just an example.

But I'll say this: there's nothing wrong in being patient on this. The Mariners have but one big bullet to fire on the trade market. There's a reason their farm system is currently ranked 17th: all the good young players are already in the majors (and needed), and the rest will be low-level prospects. There, in the middle, is Franklin.

And if you're looking for a team that best exemplifies why it pays to be patient on the trade market, look no further than a potential suitor: the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers traded Doug Fister, one of the game's best pitchers, for a really mediocre return. And, sure, they probably got tunnel vision a bit at the time—but wouldn't it be nice to turn Fister into Franklin now that their starting shortstop has two broken legs?

All I'm saying is this: I understand why the Mariners haven't pulled the trigger on a Nick Franklin trade yet. Do I wish they had, so we could finally have a clearer picture of what this team looks like once all its assets are finally deployed? Of course.

But the thing is, there are a multitude of things that could happen if the Mariners hold onto Nick Franklin for a bit longer—and almost all of them are good.