Albert Belle: voice of reason

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LeBron James is heading back to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers tomorrow night. It’s probably going to get hostile. Thankfully, we have Albert Belle around to play the part of the sage peacemaker:

From one Cleveland villain to another, Albert Belle hopes LeBron James and Cavaliers fans can play nice Thursday at the Q.  “My advice to LeBron is to take the high road and act professional. I hope the fans do the same.”

And if they don’t, he’s going to throw a ball at them, stalk them, hit them with a corked bat, unleash a profanity-filled tirade at them and quite possibly try to run them down in his truck.

You know, professional stuff.

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.