The appetizer is out of the way, now comes the entree: step aside, Tanaka. We all eagerly await the winner of the Yuniesky Betancourt derby:
Finally, my inbox will stop being filled with “WHERE WILL YU-BET SIGN?” We’ll be spared the column after column of speculation on who will end up with him and what the legacy of the losing general managers may be. The logjam of infielders who can neither hit nor field all that well will finally break and we will have wave after wave of signings.
Or maybe this is just a matter of Betancourt’s agent trying to make a big show out of shopping his client around. Could be either, frankly.
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.