Danny Espinosa was demoted to Triple-A last week after Anthony Rendon overtook him as the Nationals’ second baseman and now Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that Espinosa is playing shortstop in the minors.
Espinosa was originally a shortstop before shifting to second base in the majors, but the Nationals have Ian Desmond entrenched as the starter there. So why would they be giving Espinosa time at shortstop?
Several “rival executives” told Kilgore they think it’s a way for the Nationals to showcase Espinosa for a potential trade, giving other teams a chance to evaluate him at multiple positions. First and foremost Espinosa needs to show that he’s healthy after hitting just .158 while playing through a shoulder injury, but if he’s fallen out of the Nationals’ long-term plans there are always plenty of teams in the market for shortstop help.
The Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Michael Saunders.
Saunders was an All-Star in 2016 due to his wonderful start, but he cratered in the second half of the season. Overall is numbers looked good — he hit 24 homers and posted a line of .253/.338/.478, but his second half line was .178/.282/.357 in 58 games. He’s not the best defender around either.
The Phillies could use him, however, and if he has another red hot first half, there’s a decent chance they could flip him if they wanted to.
It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.
Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.
The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.