The Rangers acquired right-handed reliever Paolo Espino from the Brewers for cash considerations, the teams announced Saturday. Espino was designated for assignment on Wednesday to clear space on the 40-man roster for Triple-A right-hander Aaron Brooks. Espino will assume fellow right-hander Tanner Schepper’s place on the Rangers’ active roster and is expected to report to Triple-A Round Rock.
The 30-year-old rookie totaled just six appearances in the big leagues this season, compiling a 6.11 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.6 SO/9 over 17 2/3 innings. He adjusted his command to much better results in Triple-A Colorado Springs, and polished off 75 2/3 innings there with a 4.52 ERA, 1.7 BB/9 and 8.7 SO/9.
Espino isn’t a huge get for the Rangers. He’s more journeyman than proven veteran and has struggled to produce consistent results over the last several seasons. Still, he could get another shot at the majors in September and, at the very least, will give the club some organizational depth as they try to close their two-game gap in the wild card standings.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.