Cardinals expected to aggressively pursue Juan Uribe

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That’s the word from ESPN’s Buster Olney, who writes that the Cardinals could use Juan Uribe at third base or shortstop.

Uribe, who turns 32 in March, batted .248/.310/.440 with 24 homers and 85 RBI this past season. And though he had a lousy .149 batting average during the playoffs, he also had his fair share of big hits, which will probably boost his value this winter.

If Uribe signs with St. Louis, I could see him being used in a similar role as he was in San Francisco. The Cardinals still hope David Freese can be their everyday third baseman eventually, but he is a question mark after undergoing procedures on both of his ankles late in the season. Uribe could function as insurance at the hot corner while also stepping in for Brendan Ryan at shortstop and Skip Schumaker at second.

Uribe isn’t the only possible solution, though. According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Tony La Russa and a front-office faction” have long pushed for the addition of Miguel Tejada, who is also a free agent this winter. The 36-year-old batted .269/.312/.381 with 15 homers and 71 RBI between the Orioles and Padres this past season, playing both third base and shortstop.

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.