Blue Jays ink Danny Espinosa to minor-league deal

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 9: Danny Espinosa
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 9: Danny Espinosa /

According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, the Toronto Blue Jays have inked veteran infielder Danny Espinosa to a minor league pact with an invite to spring training.

Danny Espinosa was released by the New York Yankees earlier in the week after hitting an uninspiring .160/.276/.320 line with a home run in 12 games this spring. The 30-year old is an 8-year veteran with experience at both shortstop and second base.

The Jays could conceivably demote Gift Ngoepe who still has a minor league option remaining and keep Espinosa around for infield depth to back-up Aledmys Diaz in the absence of the injured Troy Tulowitzki. Ngoepe is more known for his defense and hasn’t done much for his chances this spring in Dunedin hitting .179 in 34 Grapefruit League plate appearances.

Espinosa hit 24 home runs in 2016 with the Washington Nationals however he is no stranger to the strikeout fanning 943 times in 872 career games. In 2017, Espinosa played for the Angels, Mariners, and Rays hitting .173/.245/.278 with 6 home runs and 109 strikeouts in 93 games between the trio of teams.

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The 30-year old sports a career .221 average with 98 homers and 64 stolen bases over the course of his major league tenure. Espinosa is primarily a second baseman having played 600 games at the keystone sack and another 220 games at shortstop. He has also had a cup of coffee at third base, first base, and outfield so could be a versatile bench player for Manager John Gibbons.

Espinosa was immediately slotted into the Blue Jays lineup today versus the Baltimore Orioles and was batting second for his new team. Espinosa doesn’t come without his flaws but as a bench player with decent speed who plays a plethora of positions and a switch-hitting power hitter, he can provide some veteran upside.

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The move gives the Jays more depth and affords them the opportunity to allow Ngoepe to start the season in the minors and with what we have seen thus far from Tulo, the Jays, unfortunately, need all the shortstop depth they can get.