Indians lose Flores and Espino
The Indians have lost two of their better minor league free agents to free agency as right-handed pitcher Jose Flores has signed a minor league deal with the Athletics and right-handed pitcher Paolo Espino has signed a minor league deal with the Cubs.
Flores, 24, is a big, hard throwing righty that made 59 appearances at Double-A Akron and went 7-3 with a 2.71 ERA, and in 66.1 innings allowed 55 hits, 1 home run, 27 walks and had 87 strikeouts. He has been a consistent performer throughout his minor league career with the Indians, and even resigned with them last offseason as a he was a minor league free agent then as well. Some may remember he was picked up by the Mariners as a Rule 5 pick in December of 2010. He is currently pitching winter ball in Venezuela and has an 11.25 ERA in five appearances (4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K).
Espino, who turns 27 years old in January, went 6-11 with a 4.72 ERA in 32 appearances (22 starts) last year between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus. In 141.0 innings he allowed 156 hits, 16 home runs, 44 walks and had 141 strikeouts. He has been a solid, consistent performer in his Indians minor league career and mostly filled a swing role at Akron and Columbus the last few years as a depth arm. He is currently pitching winter ball in Venezuela and is 4-2 with a 6.35 ERA in eight starts (34.0 IP, 38 H, 8 HR, 9 BB, 38 K).
With limited opportunities to advance and the Indians flush with right-handed relief arms and depth starters in the upper levels, both Flores and Espino are looking for new opportunities with other teams and potentially a better chance to crack the big leagues.
Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2013 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.