Often when a player making a comeback signs a minor-league contract with a team it includes an opt-out clause that allows him to become a free agent again if not added to the MLB roster within a month or so.
Rich Harden’s minor-league deal with the Twins includes an opt-out clause, but Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com reports that the date is July 31. That means the Twins could decide Harden isn’t ready for the big leagues coming out of spring training after missing all of 2012 following shoulder surgery and stash him at Triple-A for more than half the season.
I already wrote a lot about the Harden signing, so I won’t rehash everything here, but the July 31 opt-out clause is even more reason to think the Twins did well taking a no-risk flier on the oft-injured right-hander.
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.