The Dodgers, Diamondbacks to begin next season in Australia

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There was a time when the worst criminals in the bloody empire were sent down to New South Wales as punishment for their transgressions. But really, sending people there for a mere beanball war seems a bit extreme:

US Major League Baseball is coming to Sydney, with the opening series of next season – between the LA Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks – to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground next March.

In a $13 million coup for the state government, the opening series of the MLB will be held at the SCG on Saturday March 22 and Sunday March 23 – the first time a competitive US baseball fixture will be held in Australia and only the sixth time one has been staged outside America.

Or maybe this is something done independent of last night’s stuff. I dunno.

I guess this means it would be rude of the Dodgers to release Peter Moylan before next season, huh?

And if Luke Prokopec and Dave Nilsson don’t throw out the first pitches at each game, some people are going to have to take a long look in a mirror and think about their priorities.

Tigers sign Edwin Espinal to minor league deal

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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.