One of the major sources of frustration for fans of the Chicago White Sox has been second base. Gordon Beckham was once a top prospect, ranking as the 20th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America prior to the 2009 season. That year, Beckham produced a .270/.347/.460 batting line with 14 home runs, good enough to finish fifth in the American League Rookie of the Year vote. At age 23, it appeared as though Beckham could become a true offensive weapon for the White Sox at second base.
Yet, those numbers, aside from the 16 home runs that Beckham hit in 2012, marked the pinnacle of Beckham’s contributions offensively for the White Sox. After years of waiting around for Beckham to be anything more than a decidedly mediocre second baseman, it is at the point where the White Sox may need to find another option at second.
While Gordon Beckham has not set the world afire as he was expected to, the White Sox do not have much behind him. Even though he could potentially be considered a piece to send to the New York Yankees, possibly in exchange for Francisco Cervelli, the White Sox would still need a second baseman. Jeff Keppinger is better suited to a utility role than to be an everyday player. While the White Sox could get a catcher, they would still need to locate a second baseman.
Enter the Seattle Mariners. Nick Franklin is reportedly on the market, and would fit the White Sox answer for a young player that could be a part of the team’s present and future. Although he struggled to a 225/.303/.382 batting line with 12 home runs after a hot start last year, Franklin could be a possible piece for the future. The White Sox appear to be in the midst of an extensive rebuilding project and Franklin, who would not be eligible for free agency until 2020, could be a part of the future for the White Sox.
What would the White Sox need to give up in order to acquire Franklin? As it happens, the Mariners, perhaps due to Jack Zduriencik’s obsession with acquiring corner outfield/first base/designated hitter type, are looking for a right handed outfielder. Dayan Viciedo, who the White Sox have been receiving calls about, happens to fit that profile. In fact, the Mariners have reportedly already contacted the White Sox about acquiring Viciedo.
In two moves, the White Sox maybe able to upgrade their catcher position and find a long term solution at second base. Even though Nick Franklin may not be any better than Gordon Beckham right now, there is the chance that he could develop into a solid second baseman. He has already displayed a decent batting eye, drawing walks in 10.2% of his plate appearances, which is a lot better than league average. If he can cut down on his strikeouts, Franklin could end up being a nice building block for the White Sox.
There is no longer any room for Nick Franklin in Seattle, and the White Sox have a crowded outfield. This would be a move that makes sense for both sides.