Displaced by Robinson Cano, Mariners demote Nick Franklin back to the minors

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Nick Franklin showed enough promise as a rookie second baseman for the Mariners last season that he seemed set as the team’s long-term answer there, but then they signed Robinson Cano for $240 million.

That knocked Franklin out of the second base picture and forced him into a competition with Brad Miller to start at shortstop, which is a position where he’s stretched defensively. Miller won that battle and now, instead of keeping Franklin around in a part-time role the Mariners demoted him back to Triple-A.

Franklin played 102 games in the majors last year and prior to making his MLB debut in late May he smacked around Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .324 batting average and .912 OPS. He also hit well this spring with a .777 OPS in 17 games. In other words, if not for the Cano signing Franklin would still be in the majors. Instead now he’s back in the Pacific Coast League and will play shortstop there while trade rumors no doubt continue to swirl.

Report: Royals sign Neftali Feliz

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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.

Mets may move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base upon return from DL

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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).