What a difference a start makes. Last week, after a not-so-good performance, Phillies starter A.J. Burnett said that he was “probably” going to walk away from the game after this season, leaving an eight-figure paycheck on the table in the form of an un-exercised player option.
Last night he struck out twelve dudes and now he’s feeling a bit more eager to pitch in 2015. From CSNPhilly.com:
“I guess you could say I’ve still got it when I do have it,” Burnett said. “My decision will come down to how I feel and what my family and I decide. It’s just one start, but to be able to go out and do that tonight makes you wonder.”
As CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury reports, Burnett said he made an adjustment before last night’s game which made things way easier. Whatever happened, he showed that, when he’s on, he’s still capable of beating one of baseball’s best teams. So if he wants to pitch next season, he’d certainly be welcomed by someone.
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.