TORONTO — You can not fault Santiago Espinal for emotion like he played a function in bringing a different World Sequence championship to Boston very last slide.
In a way, he did.
When Toronto Blue Jays typical manager Ross Atkins made the decision to pull the plug on the 2018 time and flip to an inevitable rebuild very last June, his initial go was shipping veteran lefty-masher Steve Pearce to the division-rival Pink Sox.
It felt like a blip on the trade radar at the time, but a single that would establish definitely integral to Boston’s hopes in the conclude.
In addition to offering a range of crucial hits and constant creation along the way, Pearce’s 3 dwelling runs in the World Sequence built the change, and he took dwelling Slide Basic MVP honours for his initiatives.
The full time, Espinal was watching.
“It was exciting to watch and to see his name,” said Espinal, who was inundated with social media messages from Boston followers indicating ‘thanks’ following the clincher. “He’s been out there grinding and assisting the Pink Sox gain. It was outstanding what he did and I was happy.”
From the June trade, to watching Pearce support gain the Pink Sox a ring, it was a whirlwind experience for Espinal – a single that begun in the dugout of Haley Toyota Field in Salem, Va.
“After the 3rd inning I obtained the very last out and when I went to the dugout, the manager advised me, ‘Hey, I have to choose you out,’” grinned Espinal, recalling how he grew to become a Blue Jay. “I obtained terrified because I believed I did some thing: ‘What’s incorrect?’ He said, ‘I have to choose you out because you may possibly get traded or moved up.’ I was like, ‘Oh, gentleman.’ I experienced to sit in the dugout the full recreation contemplating about that.”
Espinal went dwelling, packed his points, and was in Dunedin wearing a Blue Jays uniform the really subsequent day.
The Jays think it’s a trade that will perform out well for both of those sides.
The Pink Sox obtained the quick return, when Atkins and Co. are hoping Espinal starts paying out off shortly.
Following signing up for the Jays’ Double-A affiliate in New Hampshire, Espinal completed out the time with a .286/.354/.395 slash line in 42 video games, exhibiting excellent call skills and defensively flexibility in the course of action.
A shortstop by trade, Espinal is heading to sooner or later present Jays manager Charlie Montoyo a different moving infield portion – potentially as quickly as this summertime.
“They requested me the identical issue, and what I advised them was, ‘To me, it doesn’t matter,’” Espinal said of in which he performs defensively. “I feel at ease at 2nd, quick, and 3rd. It seriously doesn’t matter to me. I can engage in all positions and I feel at ease carrying out it. It doesn’t matter in which they set me, I’ll be prepared to engage in.”
Following monitoring Espinal in the Arizona Slide League for a few months, Blue Jays director of participant growth Gil Kim arrived away believing the 24-12 months-aged will be ready to contribute faster somewhat than later, setting him up for an significant spring instruction in his initial big-league camp as a non-roster invitee.
Despite a logjam of veteran infielders and Bo Bichette slated for every day perform as the Triple-A shortstop, Espinal is seen as a participant who’s close.
“Santy can be a dynamic participant,” Kim said. “He’s a stable shortstop, very good palms, very good arm, and he can bounce about to 2nd, 3rd, quick, and he can set the bat on the ball and make points take place. He did very good points in Double-A for us and contributed to that championship.
“We’re seeing strides with his capability to sq. up the baseball and protect at any location. We’re surely thrilled about him [in 2019].”