Nick Franklin

Nick Franklin is making his first career start in the outfield

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Nick Franklin lost his starting job at second base when the Mariners signed Robinson Cano and then failed to beat out Brad Miller in a spring training shortstop competition. That led to a demotion to Triple-A, but he crushed Pacific Coast League pitching to earn a quick call-up … and now he’s starting in right field today.

It’s the first time in Franklin’s entire professional career, majors or minors, that he’s started somewhere other than shortstop or second base and he’s logged a grand total of two innings as an outfielder.

He’s getting a chance in the outfield largely because of Logan Morrison’s hamstring injury, but if Franklin hits well it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Mariners give him an extended look. If nothing else it would be a way to showcase his bat for a potential trade to a team that still views the 23-year-old as a long-term solution in the middle infield.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.

Royals sign Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Starting pitcher Danny Duffy #41 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on September 2, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.

Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.

Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.