Blue Jays add pitching depth, sign RHP Paolo Espino to minor league contract

It may not be the specific move we wanted, but it's all we're getting - for now.
Feb 15, 2023; West Palm Beach, FL, USA;  Washington Nationals starting pitcher Paolo Espino (30)
Feb 15, 2023; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Paolo Espino (30) / Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

At the big league level, all has been silent for the Toronto Blue Jays. As a matter of fact, the team has yet to spend a single dollar on a major league free agent. To this point, they are one of only a few remaining teams to have done nothing in free agency.

At some point, this is bound to change. With multiple candidates out there that'd be solid fits - primarily bat-first designated hitters - there's got to be some action coming once the new year rolls around.

Down in the minor leagues, there's been just a small amount of movement. On Saturday, MLB insider Jon Heyman shared on X that the Blue Jays signed right-handed pitcher Paolo Espino. While Heyman did not confirm whether it was a big league or minor league deal, Sportsnet followed soon after with an article stating that it's a minor league contract.

Espino, 36, was selected in the 10th round of the 2006 MLB Draft by the Cleveland Indians. He bounced around a bit before finally making his big league debut in 2017 with the Brewers. All told, he has 94 games (41 starts) under his belt in his major league career with a 5.01 ERA and 82 ERA+. He's a soft-tossing hurler that can fill multiple different roles on a pitching staff, which has quite a bit of value in today's game.

Last year, the Bisons had the likes of Zach Thopmson, Casey Lawrence, Wes Parsons, Drew Hutchison and Matt Peacock making starts for them. At this point, each of them have either signed elsewhere or are current free agents. Adding Espino is a no-risk signing and will immediately give the Bisons some much needed veterans for next year.

As of right now, minor league signings are all the Blue Jays have finalized this offseason. Espino joins Trevor Clifton and Max McDowell, who were re-signed; catcher Payton Henry and intriguing pitcher Andrew Bechtold as the organization's newest players.