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Angels acquire Danny Espinosa from Nationals

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Whatever animosity Danny Espinosa harbored toward the Nationals on Saturday afternoon appears to have dissipated, as the club completed a trade that sent the infielder to the Angels for minor league right-handers Austin Adams and Kyle McGowin on Saturday evening.

The Nationals traded for outfielder Adam Eaton last Wednesday, a move which effectively booted Trea Turner from the outfield to the infield and eliminated Espinosa’s full-time responsibilities at short. Espinosa was understandably upset by the change, going so far as to skip the team’s annual Winterfest on Saturday in what appeared to be a protest of his diminishing role on the roster.

With the Angels, however, the 29-year-old is back to a full-time position as the club’s second baseman, supplanting the Cliff PenningtonJohnny Giavotella platoon they rolled with in 2016. While he doesn’t bring much to the plate — Espinosa slashed .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 2016, while the Angels’ second basemen combined for a .237/.275/.342 line with 12 homers — his defensive chops make him a clear upgrade.

The Nationals, meanwhile, gained some depth in their farm system with minor league right-hander Kyle McGowin, ranked 20th among the Angels’ 2016 prospects on MLBPipeline.com (per MLB.com’s Manny Randhawa). McGowin, 25, made the jump from Double-A Arkansas to Triple-A Salt Lake in 2016, putting up a cumulative 5.83 ERA and 8.2 K/9 in 142 innings. The club’s other acquisition, 25-year-old reliever Austin Adams, found an easier path through Double-A Arkansas, posting a 3.05 ERA and career-best 12.8 K/9 rate in just 44 1/3 innings.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.