John Lackey sticks up for “good guy” Josh Beckett

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Who better to discuss the Red Sox trading Josh Beckett than a pitcher most fans would like to see leave Boston too?

John Lackey, who was one of Beckett’s best friends on the team, told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that the trade was a good move for everyone involved because “it had gone too far here for him” and “I don’t think it would have ever come back.”

And then Lackey stuck up for Beckett:

It’s baffling to me people write things that don’t even know the man. Guys write stuff who don’t know Josh. He’s a good guy. It’s too bad that it came to that. They write about the Beckett Bowl (charity event), that we were partying and stuff, but they raised $300,000 for Children’s Hospital that night. Throw something in there positive.

If he’s sensitive to the criticism Beckett received from the Boston media I can’t even imagine how Lackey feels about his own treatment in the press. Or among fans. Or anyone, really.

And if the Red Sox could have dumped Lackey’s contract along with the Beckett and Carl Crawford deals they surely would have jumped at the chance. Instead they still owe the rehabbing right-hander $15.25 million in 2013 and the same amount in 2014.

Tigers sign Edwin Espinal to minor league deal

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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.