Blue Jays sign Espinosa, claim Moll

 The Toronto Blue Jays signed veteran infielder Danny Espinosa to a minor league deal on Saturday. Photo Credit: Frank Franklin/AP

The Toronto Blue Jays signed veteran infielder Danny Espinosa to a minor league deal on Saturday. Photo Credit: Frank Franklin/AP

By Andrew Hendriks

Canadian Baseball Network

Only days removed from formally announcing that Troy Tulowitzki will miss Opening Day, the Blue Jays have inked journeyman infielder Danny Espinosa to a minors pact that comes with an invite to big league camp this spring.

Espinosa, 30, has slashed .221/.297/.378 with 249 extra-base hits over parts of eight seasons at the major league level. 

Best remembered for his time spent with the Washington Nationals, the former third-round draft pick appeared with three teams last season, and hit just .173 with six home runs in 93 games.

Through 12 contests with the Yankees prior to being cut loose as a result of the Bombers' acquisition of Neil Walker on Monday, Espinosa slashed .160/.276/.320 with a home run over 25 at-bats.

With the Blue Jays in search of a viable stopgap between Opening Day and Tulowitzki's return later this spring, Espinosa will now move into competition with back-up infield options such as Gift Ngoepe and Richard Urena as the Grapefruit League draws to a close over the next two weeks.

Like Ngoepe, Espinosa would require an open spot on the Blue Jays' fully stocked 40-man roster in order to break camp with the club.

CALL TO ARMS

In addition to enhancing the competition for that final bench spot out of spring training, the Blue Jays also added another lefty to their mix after acquiring Sam Moll of waivers from the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Over parts of five seasons in the minors, Moll, 26, has pitched to a cumulative ERA of 3.35 with 201 strikeouts against only 68 walks. Through an even 215 innings, the 5-foot-10 product of Lakeland, Tenn., has allowed just 17 home runs while amassing an overall K/9 of 8.4 across 151 appearances, 144 of which have been as a reliever.

The former third-round draft pick made his MLB debut with Oakland in 2017, pitching in 11 games and allowing eight runs on 13 hits, surrendering a pair of round-trippers and striking out seven.

Having claimed a spot on Toronto's 40-man roster after fellow southpaw Thomas Pannone was handed an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a banned substance on Friday, Moll will now compete with Matt Dermody and Tim Mayza for that second lefty spot alongside Aaron Loup in the Blue Jays bullpen.

Though he's a righty, you can add veteran reliever Tyler Clippard to that three-player mix as well thanks in part to both his big league experience and strong career numbers vs. left-handed batters.

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Andrew Hendriks

Born in southern Ontario during the late 1980's, Hendriks had a front row seat to watch the Blue Jays reach the pinnacle in '92/'93 as a child, an experience that only bolstered this Canadian's love for the "American Game." Having played since before his memory allows access too, his passion for Baseball grew over years of emulating his heroes on the local sandlots, memorizing the backs of chewing gum scented cards and travelling across North America to experience as many aspects of the game as possible. In 2009, Hendriks began volunteering at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame as a Weekend Tour Guide. By 2010, he was hired on to help curate for the museum & Instruct the fundamentals of the game along side such legends as Tony Fernandez, Roberto Alomar and Jim Fanning during the Hall's annual Kids On Deck program. Following the 2011 season, Hendriks began blogging and co-hosting a weekly podcast for www.BackInBlue.ca, a Blue Jays themed website ran by fans, for fans. Looking to continue connecting with baseball fans across the country, Hendriks is excited to join such a strong team at the Canadian Baseball Network and looks forward to chipping in.