According to the Associated Press, Roberto Hernandez Heredia struck a deal to have his false identity charges dropped in exchange for completing a work program in his native Dominican Republic.
Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, was placed on baseball’s restricted list in January after he was arrested for faking his identity. He is currently preparing for the season at the Indians’ complex in the Dominican and hoped to receive a judicial pardon in order to resume his playing career in the United States. We don’t know the details of the work program yet and he may still have trouble obtaining a visa, so the timeline for his return is unclear.
The Indians picked up Hernandez’s $7 club million option last October, but he won’t be paid as along as he remains on the restricted list.
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.