This has been a rough first six weeks for closers, as half the teams in baseball have a new guy in the ninth-inning role due to poor performances and/or injuries.
Of the closers left standing only four guys have at least five saves without a blown save and showing someone the list before the season would have confused the hell out of them (and probably still does): Jim Johnson, Fernando Rodney, Jonathan Papelbon, Matt Capps.
Those four have combined to convert 43-of-43 save chances. The other 20 closers with at least five saves have converted 156-of-188 save chances, which works out to an 82 percent success rate that’s actually pretty typical across MLB most seasons.
But still: Matt Capps, Fernando Rodney, Jim Johnson, and Jonathan Papelbon.
Proven closers, y’all.
Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.
Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.
Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.