After reading this you’ll never look at David Eckstein the same way again

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We like to poke fun at the “David Eckstein is scrappy” thing around here, but that’s more a commentary on the people who try to make him into something he isn’t as a player, not a personal thing about Eckstein.

Indeed, there’s absolutely no reason to poke personal fun at Eckstein of which I’m aware. And if there were any question about that, it was utterly put to rest by this article from Steve Henson of The Post Game regarding the Eckstein family’s epidemic of renal failure and how David Eckstein is now on deck to make a kidney donation, just like so many in his family have before:

Pat [Eckstein] was the first to donate, and Susan was the recipient on Nov. 29, 1988. Ken and Christine received transplants from recently deceased donors two years later. Whitey is alive because Ken’s best friend from college volunteered as a donor in 2005. Susan and Christine have six children between them, and four have been diagnosed with kidney disease.

Doctors say the sheer volume of transplants in the Eckstein family is extremely rare. Perhaps even more remarkable is the family’s upbeat approach in the face of a devastating and potentially deadly disease.

“The Ecksteins don’t see this as a hindrance or a curse, they see it as a way to bring the family together,” says Dr. Michael Angelis, Chief Surgical Director of Transplant Services at Florida Hospital in Orlando. Dr. Angelis performed the transplant surgeries for Ken in 2010 and Whitey in 2005.

David Eckstein still hasn’t officially retired, but when he does he says that he’s “looking forward to the transplant.” Note the definite article. As Henson reports, one of their sisters and several nieces and nephews are showing signs of renal failure, so David Eckstein will be donating at some point soon.

The cliches that have arisen about Eckstein making so much out of his physical shortcomings are amusing. Until I read Henson’s article, I believed that they were so comically overstated that they had long passed the point of parody. In light of the article, however, you may agree that, if anything, they understate Eckstein’s moxie.

This is a must-read, folks. Check it out.

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.