Greg Walker stepped down as the White Sox’s hitting coach immediately after the season and it didn’t take him long to find a new gig, with Bob Nightengale of USA Today reporting that Walker has agreed to become the Braves’ new hitting coach.
Walker also interviewed for the Padres’ job, but given how frequently San Diego has cycled through hitting coaches since moving into Petco Park he’s probably better off in Atlanta.
Walker generally has a solid reputation among players and media members, but the White Sox finished 10th or worse among AL teams in scoring three times in the past five seasons. Atlanta fired hitting coach Larry Parrish last month after finishing 10th among NL teams in scoring this season.
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.