San Diego Padres v Seattle Mariners

The Mariners are a terrible. And awful. Soon, everyone in their front office will be unemployed – and rightfully so.

Turns out developing talent is hard and banking on linear growth from prospects is foolish. The Mariners are not alone in squandering what looked to be a rich pipeline of talent and wasting the peak of one of baseball’s great players.

Dustin Ackley hasn’t exactly worked out as planned. So the Mariners are going back to the lab with another highly-touted middle infielder: promoting well-regarded Nick Franklin, perhaps at the expense of Ackely himself.

The Mariners have not yet specified the corresponding roster move but Nick Franklin is indeed on his way to the Mariners, joining the team before they host the Padres in the first game of this year`s prestigious Vedder Cup.

Franklin won’t be a superstar in the Major Leagues but he is the kind of player who might end with a long career – a decent bat and strong enough defense to keep him employed plugging holes for years to come. Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus wonders is Franklin possesses the arm strength to stick as a shortstop but, for now, the bar is set mighty low for SS in the Emerald City. Parks dropped Franklin from 28th in his 2012 prospect rankings to 72 for 2013, due to an ugly slash line during his first exposure to triple-A pitching.

Franklin turned it around this season, posting a very healthy .324/.440/.472 line with four home runs. While he won’t replicate those AAA numbers exactly, just about anything is upgrade over what the Mariners are getting out of Ackley and their duo of terrible shortstops. Franklin is a switch hitter but some prospect watchers think Franklin should focus on the left side, Keith Law included.

If it is Ackley who goes down to Tacoma (sure is!), this move is more about him than it is about Franklin. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times cites sources high in the Mariners organization who believe Franklin is ready to hit at the Major League level. Hit is a relative thing, both in terms of “for a middle infielder” and “for a Seattle Mariner.” The front office might feel that way about Franklin but recent history shows that the same cannot be said for Dustin Ackley.

So welcome to the show, Nick Franklin. Please ignore the recent history of your predecessor and continue hitting as you were.