ESPN’s Jim Bowden hears that Chris Owings is the favorite over Didi Gregorius for the Diamondbacks’ starting shortstop job. Owings, 22, has not had a particularly great showing this spring, but has out-hit Gregorius in OPS, .698 to .541.
Gregorius, 24, wasn’t particularly impressive in his rookie season in 2013, posting a .704 OPS. Owings wasn’t noticeably better at the big league level last season but only had 61 plate appearances with which to work. He performed well with Triple-A Reno, slashing .330/.359/.482.
Bowden expects Owings to wind up as a candidate for the NL Rookie of the Year award at the end of the season. Additionally, he expects the D-Backs to shop Gregorius. He could, perhaps, be an option for the Tigers.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals have signed free agent reliever Neftali Feliz, pending a physical. The Brewers designated Feliz for assignment last week and released him on Monday.
Feliz, 29, opened the season as the Brewers’ closer, but struggled and was eventually taken out of the role in mid-May, giving way to Corey Knebel. In 29 appearances spanning 27 innings with the Brewers, Feliz posted a 6.00 ERA with a 21/15 K/BB ratio.
The Royals have had bullpen issues of their own, so Feliz will try to provide some stability given his track record. It’s not clear yet if the Royals want to let Feliz get his feet wet at Triple-A or throw him right into the bullpen mix.
Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that the Mets may move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base when he returns from the disabled list. Cabrera has been on the disabled list since June 13 with a sprained left thumb, but he’s expected to be activated on Friday.
Cabrera, 31, last played second base in 2014 with the Nationals. He has played shortstop exclusively as a Met the last two seasons. Jose Reyes would continue to play shortstop if the Mets were to go through with the position change. Cabrera would displace T.J. Rivera, who has been playing second base in place of the injured Neil Walker.
In 196 plate appearances this season, Cabrera is hitting .244/.321/.392 with six home runs and 20 RBI. He has made 11 defensive errors, which is tied for the third-most among shortstops behind Tim Anderson (16) and Dansby Swanson (12).