Per NPB Tracker, Hiroki Kuroda — who, rumor has it, could be had on a one-year deal — has reportedly informed the Hiroshima Carp that he intends to pitch in the Major Leagues in 2012, not return to Japan as has been suggested a few times. Moreover, Kuroda reportedly intends to decide on where he’ll sign “within the next couple of days.”
There’s no clear frontrunner at this point. The Rangers have been rumored, but there is reason to be skeptical of that. The Red Sox have interest. The Yankees have reportedly ruled themselves out because they’re broke and everything, the poor dears.
Let’s just create chaos and say the Marlins are where he’s going. There hasn’t been enough talk about the Marlins this winter.
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.