PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - The Mets have engaged in multiple conversations with the Mariners regarding their surplus of middle infielders, sources said Monday, though the sides haven't talked recently.
According to a source, talks initially picked up after the Mariners' signing of second baseman Robinson Cano. The move displaced infielder Nick Franklin, who appears to be the most likely trade target.
Though Ruben Tejada is penciled in as the Mets' shortstop, his starter status is hardly a lock after the Mets soured on him following a miserable 2013 season.
A first-round pick in 2009, Franklin, who turns 23 on Sunday, hit .225 with 12 homers as a rookie last season. He has mostly played shortstop, though questions exist about his long-term viability at the position.
The Mets' interest in obtaining Franklin was first reported by ESPNNewYork.com.
Top prospect Noah Syndergaard spent Monday ramping up for his first Grapefruit League start Monday against the Braves in Lake Buena Vista. The righthander flashed his arsenal during batting practice.
"He was throwing gas," said infielder Omar Quintanilla, who faced Syndergaard. "He's so big, too, so his release point is super- long and he's got that high fastball. It's hard to hit."
"It's a time to face big-league hitters," manager Terry Collins said of Syndergaard's upcoming start. "There's a large difference between those good Double-A hitters and those real good big-league hitters. So the challenge will be to see how he goes about getting after those guys."
Syndergaard will pitch in Thursday's intrasquad game with Dillon Gee, Bartolo Colon, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jeurys Familia, Joel Carreno, Carlos Torres, Ward Melville product Steven Matz and Jose Valverde.
Collins will honor Curtis Granderson's request for additional at-bats early in Grapefruit League play. Initially, Granderson would have joined veterans David Wright and Daniel Murphy, whom Collins plans to hold out early to reduce their risk of injury. But Granderson asked for more at-bats because he missed much of last season with injuries . . . Matt Harvey and Jeremy Hefner played catch. The righthanders are rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.