The Toronto Blue Jays have moved IF/OF, right-handed batter Steve Pearce to the Boston Red Sox for minor league SS Santiago Espinal. In the first move of (hopefully) many this season, the Blue Jays add an interesting young piece to their prospect pool.
Steve Pearce has struggled with injuries this season but when healthy has played very well. Hitting .291 in 26 games played this season Pearce has hit 16 home runs and collected 16 RBIs in limited playing time. Able to play both infield at second base and first base, and the corner outfield, the Red Sox get a veteran utility player with some major league pop and clutch hitting.
While there is a logjam of SS prospects with six ranked in the Blue Jays top-30 prospect pool, infielders who can hit are a commodity league wide, and will never go out of style. So, who exactly are the Blue Jays getting in 23 year old shortstop Santiago Espinal?
In Class A Advanced ball with the Salem Red Sox Espinal is having a solid and repsectable offensive season:
Batting Average: .313
On Base Percentage: .363
Extra Base Hits: 25
Runs Batted In: 32
Home Runs: 7
Strike Our Percentage: 7%
Walk Percentage: 14%
What the Blue Jays appear to have gotten in this trade is a discipled hitter who looks to add offence through contact, line drive hitting rather than home run power. His biggest asset may be his ability to play around the infield as a utility player, playing 2nd base 3rd base, and shortstop at an above average level defensively. The 2016 tenth round pick also has above average base running speed and will steal a good amount of bases (9 in 65 games this season).
Espinal could possibly see some starting time this season, especially since Aledmys Diaz has missed time due to injury already this season, Troy Tulowitzki is MIA, and prospect Richard Urena has already been called up this season as a stop gap. As well, his versatility in the infield could see him draw time at third base if Solarte and/or Donaldson are moved.
The asset collection has begin for Toronto with Pearce being moved early ahead of the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. Next up… Donaldson? Maybe not, but there should be significant movement surrounding veteran players like Happ, Estrada, Tepera, Solarte, maybe Donaldson, and Granderson. Buckle up Jays fans, its turnover time!