The Yankees have released infielder Danny Espinosa, GM Brian Cashman informed reporters this afternoon, including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, who was the first to tweet the news. The switch-hitter had been in the running for a utility infield role and perhaps the starting second baseman’s job before the Yankees added Neil Walker earlier today.
The slick-fielding Espinosa was a fixture in the Nationals' middle infield from 2010 until 2016, where his free-swinging approach produced a .226/.302/.388 batting line in almost 3000 plate appearances in the nation’s capital, swatting 92 home runs. That combined with his excellent defense made him a useful player, good for an even nine wins above replacement according to Baseball-Reference.
Espinosa took a major step back after being traded away from Washington in December of 2016, though. Beginning his season with the Angels and ending it with the Rays—with a quick stop for the Mariners in between—Espinosa slashed a putrid .173/.245/.278, striking out in almost 37% of his plate appearances.
Espinosa signed with the Yankees on a minor-league contract in January as they looked to add depth in the event that touted prospects Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres started the season in the minors, but his role was rendered moot with the signing of Walker and recent trade acquisition of Brandon Drury. Espinosa will now search for a new team to latch on with—presumably beginning the season in AAA—as Opening Day draws near.