Second baseman Nick Franklin lost his job when the Mariners signed Robinson Cano to a monster contract and then predictably failed to beat out Brad Miller for the shortstop gig during spring training, at which point the Mariners sent him back to Triple-A.
Franklin took the demotion in stride, hitting .395 with four homers and a 1.214 OPS in 11 games for Tacoma, and now he’s headed back to the big leagues.
No official announcement has been made yet, but Franklin more or less tweeted out the news via emojis (what a world we live in, people). He’s expected to replace Logan Morrison, who injured his hamstring and is likely to be put on the disabled list.
Franklin has never played a position other than second base or shortstop in the majors or the minors, but he worked out some as an outfielder during spring training prepping for a situation just like this one.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.