The Angels plan on going after Carl Crawford

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Is it too early for some winter hot stove? Nah, never too early.

Ken Rosenthal has a new column up, and it’s got all kinds of random things in it. The thing that caught my eye was his discussion of the Angels’ potential moves this summer, which might include going after a first baseman. They want a rental, though, not a guy under contract for next year, because Kendry Morales will be back. Why not just shift Morales or the new guy to DH?  Because Bobby Abreu will be there. Well wait, why won’t Abreu still be in the outfield?

Because the Angels “intend to pursue Carl Crawford as a free agent,” Rosenthal reports.

All of which makes sense. And despite the fact that the Yankees have been assumed to be Crawford’s ultimate landing spot, the Angels might just try harder to get him. After all, the Crawford-to-the-Yankees speculation arose before Brett Gardner decided to break out to the tune of .309/.396/.415. Not Crawford’s numbers, of course, but a pretty nice cut-market imitation that might inspire the Yankees to look for a different kind of player during their annual winter shopping spree.

Tigers sign Edwin Espinal to minor league deal

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Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.

Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.

Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.