Alexi Ogando replaces CC Sabathia replaces James Shields

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By the time the day ends, you and I might be All-Stars.

See, a few years back, MLB, in response to complaints about the All-Star managers favoring their own players, gave the players a chance to vote on All-Star picks.

And that wasn’t a bad idea.  The problem was that MLB now keeps turning back to those players ballots each time a players pick for the All-Star Game withdraws.

So, we get fame (Scott Rolen) over production (Aramis Ramirez), saves (Jordan Walden) over performance (David Robertson) and, somehow, Kevin Correia.

We also have a rule about how every pitcher starting the Sunday before the All-Star Game had to be replaced on the roster.

And, now, we have CC Sabathia replacing James Shields, only to be immediately declared ineligible and get replaced by Alexi Ogando.

Thanks to MLB’s decison to create a set of rules about how replacements have to be chosen Sabathia, who was probably deserving anyway, gets his All-Star appearance and any applicable bonus, all without having to travel to Phoenix.

And Ogando, who is 9-3 with a 2.92 ERA for the Rangers, will go in his place and perhaps pitch in the game.

The league also announced today that rookie Michael Pineda would replace Justin Verlander, another Sunday starter.  Later, another pitcher is expected to be named in Felix Hernandez’s place.  We’re planning to have a full update on all of the All-Star roster changes after that.

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.