It’ll never happen, but the Yanks need to put Joba back into the rotation

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The Yankees have been unwavering in their position on Joba Chamberlain: he’s a relief pitcher and he always will be a relief pitcher as long as he plays for the New York Yankees.  As Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues notes, however, such a position is a horrible one, and with no less than three guys ahead of him on the bullpen depth chart — maybe four — the Yankees should be pushing Chamberlain into the back end of the rotation:

I’m not asking for a miracle here, just give the guy a chance to start again in Spring Training. There’s basically no downside. If he gets hurt and his days as an effective pitcher come to an end, who cares? All the Yankees would be losing is a seventh inning reliever. If it works, well then geez, you’ve got yourself a young big league starter, something the team could really use right about now. It’s Spring Training, just try it. That’s all I’m asking. Just make an effort, give him the same kind of rope they gave Hughes this past year.

But they won’t, of course.  Why? Your guess is as good as mine. Mike muses that for all we know it’s possible his attitude is awful or his shoulder is shredded.  Which just underscores how badly the Yankees mishandled his development. Maybe he’d have a better attitude if he wasn’t jerked around like has been. Maybe his shoulder was going to go south no matter how carefully they treated him between 2007 and 2010 and, as a result, they’ve managed to get the absolute least bang for their buck from the guy.

Maybe he’s just fine, though, and the Yankees don’t want to admit they mishandled him. That, even if he is no longer a viable major league starting pitcher, it wasn’t the result of being put in a position to succeed and simply failing.

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.