James Loney would move to the outfield to make room for Pujols, Fielder

9 Comments

How generous of him.

James Loney, who was one of the NL’s worst regulars for four months before finally finding his strong in August, said he’d be just fine moving to the outfield if the Dodgers wanted to sign either Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder this winter.

“I’ll do anything,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

Loney went on the tear of his life from Aug. 21 through the end of the season, batting .388/.438/.679 with seven homers and 28 RBI in 134 at-bats.  He had hit .254/.305/.327 with five homers and 37 RBI in 397 at-bats up until that date.

A virtual shoo-in to be non-tendered before the surge, Loney now presents the Dodgers with a difficult decision. He’s still just 27, and his likely $6 million salary in arbitration isn’t all that prohibitive. However, he’s spent four full seasons as a major league regular without being above average in any of them.

Anyway, it seems safe to say Loney won’t be the Dodgers’ left fielder next season. There’s some chance he could return as the first baseman, but if the Dodgers upgrade there, then they’ll almost certainly go cheaper in left field.

Tigers sign Edwin Espinal to minor league deal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.