The bidding war wasn’t enough to get Scott Kazmir a major league contract, but there was considerable interest in the left-hander after a fine month in Puerto Rico and the Indians signed him to a minor league deal on Friday, according to The Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes
Kazmir was 0-2 with a 4.37 ERA for Carolina in Puerto Rico, but it came with a nice 27/8 K/BB ratio and just one homer allowed in 22 2/3 innings.
The soon-to-be 29-year-old Kazmir hasn’t pitched in the majors since getting lit up by the Royals on April 3, 2011. The Angels quickly stashed him on the DL, and he went 0-5 with a 17.02 ERA in Triple-A before receiving his release. He opened 2012 out of baseball, only to later sign with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters and go 3-6 with a 5.34 ERA in 14 starts.
Kazmir figures to open 2013 in the rotation at Triple-A, but the Indians won’t keep him there long if he impresses. If he’s recovered some of his lost velocity, he could help at the back of the rotation.
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.