Oakland general manager Billy Beane said last month that the A’s are unlikely to re-sign Jonny Gomes and now Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports that the free agent is drawing interest from the Orioles.
Gomes is overmatched as an everyday player because he’s poor defensively in the outfield and has a long history of struggling against right-handed pitching, but he’s always crushed left-handed pitching and the Orioles could use help in that department.
Gomes was a bargain for the A’s this year, hitting .262 with 18 homers and an .868 OPS in 99 games while earning just $1 million, and he’s a career .284 hitter with an .894 OPS versus lefties. As a lefty-mashing designated hitter he’s basically a perfect role player.
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.