By Andrew Hendriks
Canadian Baseball Network
TORONTO -- In the first of what promises to be a series of trades made by the club between now and July 31, the Toronto Blue Jays have dealt outfielder Steve Pearce and cash considerations to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for minor league shortstop, Santiago Espinal.
Espinal, 23, has slashed .287/.342/.385 with 30 stolen bases and 11 home runs since making his professional debut with the Gulf Coast Red Sox in 2016.
The right-handed hitting product of Santiago, D.R. has posted an OPS of .840 through 65 games with the class-A Salem Red Sox this season and had accounted for the third highest batting average (.313) in the Carolina League prior to Thursday's deal.
A former 10th-round draft pick, Espinal will now join an infield heavy minor league system, slotting in behind Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Richard Urena and Bo Bichette on the organizational depth chart at short.
Best remembered for launching two walk-off grand slams over the course of one week in 2017, Pearce slashed .291/.349/.519 with four home runs in 26 games with the Blue Jays this season.
The emergence of Teoscar Hernandez, coupled with a stable of talented minor league outfielders down in triple-A Buffalo, had diminished the 35-year-old journeyman's role on the Blue Jays in 2018.
With Pearce in the final half of a two-year, $12.5-million pact, Thursday's transaction was made as an attempt to extract some controllable value out of an expiring contract.
Landing with the Red Sox, Pearce has now been featured on the 40-man roster for each of the five American League East ballclubs.
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