The Milwaukee Brewers designated right-handed pitcher Paolo Espino for assignment earlier this week when they acquired Aaron Brooks, and today the club announced that they had resolved his DFA limbo via trade:
RHP Paolo Espino has been traded to Texas in exchange for cash.— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) August 26, 2017
Espino, 30, debuted in the major leagues this year after a dozen seasons in the minor leagues. He was a highly coveted minor league free agent when he signed with Milwaukee last winter, with one of the top statistical profiles in the upper minors over the last handful of seasons. A strong start in AAA Colorado Springs lead to his first big league call-up on May 19th for a spot start against the Cubs.
All-in-all, Espino wound make 6 appearances - including 2 starts - across four separate stints with the Brewers this season. His strong success in the minor leagues didn’t translate over to the majors, as the soft-tossing righty could muster only a 6.11 ERA and 13:8 K/BB ratio across 17.1 innings pitched. Espino’s biggest issue in The Show were the 5 gopher balls that he served up.
Though Espino only tops out at around 90 MPH with his fastball, he boasts a five-pitch arsenal (four-seam, sinker, slider, changeup, curveball) and has displayed outstanding command in the minor leagues. In over 500 innings at the AAA level, Espino owns a 3.76 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. He held opposing hitters to just a .239 batting average against and allowed hard contact at just a 29.3% rate while pitching for the Milwaukee Nine, so there’s reason to hope that he could be at least a bit more effective with Texas than he was as a Brewer.
Espino was about two weeks shy of earning the 43 days of MLB service time necessary to vest his MLB pension when he was designated by the Brewers. He’s been optioned to AAA Round Rock for the time being, but with September call-ups less than a week away there’s a chance that Paolo could return to the big leagues for the final month of the season. He has the flexibility of being able to work in either a bullpen role or out of the rotation for the Rangers, and their pitching staff has been sub par all season long.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs