Back in February, when Jose Valverde was still looking for work, a report that he was close to signing with the Marlins was almost immediately shot down and called “a typical ploy by Scott Boras.”
I bring this up because yesterday, when Valverde spoke to the Detroit media upon rejoining the Tigers, he told reporters that the Yankees and Mets were among several teams that had made him major-league contract offers that he turned down.
That seemed odd, because until two weeks ago Valverde was unemployed. And sure enough when asked about Valverde’s claim Yankees general manager Brian Cashman emphatically denied offering him a major-league deal or a minor-league deal. In fact, Cashman said “false, false, false” and explained that the Yankees never even had negotiations with Valverde. But wait, what about the Mets? Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that they didn’t make Valverde an offer either.
Who knows if Valverde was fibbing or if he was simply working off less than accurate information relayed to him by his agent, but either way … he wasn’t turning down big-league offers this offseason.
Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.
Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.
Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.