For as long as there have been bench coaches and bullpen coaches, Man has sought to ascertain what, exactly, they do. We may never know the answer to that question, but we do know who will be filling those roles for the Houston Astros next year: former big leaguers Eduardo Perez and Dennis Martinez.
Perez used to be the Marlins’ hitting coach. El Presidente was most recently a coach in the Cardinals’ system. Both of them continue a trend of coaches coming from the ranks of players whose primes occurred in my actual adult life as opposed to some distant, hazy past, thereby making me feel really old.
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.