Franklin wrestles with tough decision

LAKELAND, Fla. — Wayne Franklin went back and forth. Again and again. Then he thought about it even more.

The man who started the first game in York Revolution history didn’t know if he wanted to remain a starter in 2008. He thought his best chance to return to the big leagues was as a reliever. But in his heart, he knew that he wanted to start.

So after telling Adam Gladstone, the Revolution’s director of baseball operations, he wanted to try to close games this summer, Franklin changed his mind. About a month after signing with the Revs, he decided to return to York’s starting rotation.

Give Gladstone credit, too, for this move. He did a bit of research on Franklin’s behalf, trying to discern whether a starting or relief role would be the best avenue to an affiliated deal. Gladstone found that it didn’t quite matter either way — you’re either good enough or not. So now Franklin will add a much-needed lefty to the Revs’ rotation.

“If a team called looking for a reliever, I was afraid they wouldn’t want me,” Franklin said after York’s second workout of the spring on Wednesday. “I thought they would want someone to throw every day. I guess a month after I talked about closing, I knew in my heart I’ve always wanted to be a starter. So I contacted Adam and asked him, ‘What do you think about me being a starter?'”

Franklin’s decision gives York a pretty formidable starting rotation if he continues pitching the way he ended last season. The former Milwaukee Brewer could also be aided by the fact that he’s more fresh this spring. For the first time, he didn’t go through a month of spring training prior to the start of a season.

The Delaware native also talked with me a bit about his views on the current Revs’ roster. He saw what York’s team looked like on paper at the outset of 2007, and he thinks the collection of talent the club has assembled this year is better.

“It seems like as a whole there’s better talent here,” Franklin said. “Chris (Hoiles) and I were talking about it, and it’s always a double-edged sword, because you have a good team but then you start losing guys.”

Franklin will start Thursday’s exhibition with Bridgeport and don’t read too much into that. He’ll only throw two innings at max, most likely. He’ll be followed by the five pitcher who threw on Tuesday in York’s first workout: Matt Trent, Landon Jacobsen, Aaron Myette, Jason Olson and Dan Foli.

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2 Responses

  1. I think the Revs are, without a doubt, better with Franklin in the rotation. The depth in the bullpen is already solid, and there are a few closing options.

    Is it too much of a generalization to say that every team in the AL is better, on paper, this year than at the start of last?

    When you take a look at the spring training rosters, it seems like every team has it’s share of ex-MLBers and the vast majority of players have been at least AA and AAA regulars. I’ve noticed a bunch of guys who were AL caliber regulars last year who’ve signed with the Northern League, Can-Am League, and American Association for this year.

  2. That’s a good point. The Atlantic League does have better talent in it this year than in the past — maybe than ever before. According to Gladstone, it has just been incredible the caliber of players available.

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