After spending the first seven seasons of his pro career in the Astros’ farm system Roger Clemens’ son, Koby Clemens, became a free agent and has signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays.
Clemens was Houston’s eighth-round pick in 2005 and has never been considered a top prospect, but did put up some big numbers in the low minors. He hit .345 with 22 homers, 45 doubles, and 121 RBIs in 116 games at high Single-A in 2009, but hasn’t done much since leaving the notoriously hitter-friendly California League for tougher competition.
Last season he split time between first base and third base at Triple-A, hitting .234 with 16 homers and a .756 OPS in 126 games at age 24, and then was banned from playing winter ball in Puerto Rico after leaving his team without notice.
Koby is unlikely to reach the majors, but Roger won back-to-back Cy Young awards for the Blue Jays in 1997 and 1998 before they traded him to the Yankees for David Wells.
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.