Slam that depth button, Ross. The Blue Jays have inked veteran infielder Danny Espinosa to a minor league contract and he’ll report to big league camp.
With Troy Tulowitzki’s injury, it makes sense to add another veteran presence to the picture who could potentially fill in if (IF???) Tulo ends up missing a bunch of time. As of right now, it seems Gift Ngoepe will slide into the backup shortstop role while Aledmys Diaz will become the starter, but having Espinosa there as insurance isn’t a bad plan.
I doubt Espinosa will crack the team out of camp because he doesn’t have a spot on the 40-man roster and Ngoepe does and the Jays are already going to be in tough finding spots for guys like John Axford and potentially another arm like Luis Santos and Deck McGuire who have thrived in spring. Thomas Pannone’s suspension opens up one spot, but the Jays would have to DFA someone to make room for Espinosa.
Espinosa has played eight years in the Major Leagues. You’ll likely remember him as a member of the Washington Nationals as all of his good years — 2011 where he clubbed 21 bombs and 2016 where he hit 24 homers — were spent there. In 2017, Espinosa was bad. Really bad. He split time between the Angels, Rays, and Mariners, ultimately playing 93 games and putting up a .513 OPS and -1.0 WAR. That said, in 2015 and 2016, Espinosa was worth four wins for the Nationals, so he isn’t far away from being an effective player.
And, say it with me, there’s no such thing as a bad minor league signing!