The Orioles have joined the Mets and Rays in official pursuit of displaced Mariners' second baseman Nick Franklin, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, who characterizes the discussions as "ongoing" and suggests that a trade is "likely" in the near future.
The Mariners are without a place to play Franklin after acquiring Robinson Cano this winter given that Kyle Seager and Brad Miller have the left side of the infield under control as well. Franklin should generate a decent return thanks to six years of team control and prospect bona fides, meaning the Mariners will be holding out for the right outfielder or pitcher and likely won't sell him for fifty cents on the dollar.
The Orioles make the most sense in the short run because they don't have a good option at second base for the 2014 season, but they have Jonathan Schoop coming up through the system and offering anything of value back in return for a one year upgrade isn't something at which the Orioles will jump.
The Mets need help in the middle infield and Franklin would fit there as a long term solution and as a potential piece that could complement their impressive young pitching for years to come. The Rays are looking for value and flexibility with respect to Franklin who could allow them to shift Zobrist back into the outfield or to first base and they have pitching depth to burn.
Interestingly, Heyman doesn't identify the Blue Jays as a suitor despite a desperate situation at second both in 2014 and in the years that will follow. There aren't many ways for a team to improve this late in the offseason, but moving from a rotating collection of replacement level players to a player like Franklin who will be something close to average would be a big shift for the Jays.
The Mariners seem motivated to get a deal done and there are a variety of teams who need a second baseman, so it stands to reason that something will happen between now and Opening Day. Otherwise, the Mariners will go to battle with an overqualified backup infielder and question marks that could have been addressed elsewhere.