According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, catcher Ramon Hernandez was claimed off waivers and has since been pulled back by the Reds, making him ineligible to be traded.
Hernandez seemed like an obvious fit with either the Giants or Angels earlier this season, but the Reds weren’t willing to trade him prior to the July 31 deadline and there was little chance of a deal coming together this month. Because Hernandez is earning just $3 million this year and projects as a Type A free agent, it’s doubtful that he even made it to the Giants on waivers.
With top prospect Devin Mesoraco on the way and a strong backup in Ryan Hanigan in the fold, the Reds seem unlikely to re-sign Hernandez this winter. Still, they’re likely better off with two draft picks as compensation than with whatever return an August deal would have brought.
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.