Depending on what moves the Nationals make this offseason Danny Espinosa could be the favorite to start at second base on Opening Day, but he’ll be out of commission for at least the next six weeks after undergoing surgery today to remove the hook of the hamate bone from his right hand.
Espinosa had been playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, where he hit .345 in 87 at-bats after making his big-league debut in September with a .214/.277/.447 line in 28 games.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that Espinosa is expected to be fully healthy in time for spring training, but notes that his future double-play partner, Ian Desmond, “suffered significant complications from a similar procedure during his time in the minors, but only because a doctor botched the initial operation.”
Update (7:00 PM ET): The MLBPA announces that the deadline has been extended 24 hours while MLB and NPB continue to negotiate a new agreement for the posting system. The new deadline is 8 PM ET on Tuesday.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.