Detroit Tigers: First Undrafted Free Agent Trevin Esquerre Comes To Terms
The Detroit Tigers finally broke open the bottle recently and signed undrafted free agent (UDFA) from Loyola Marymount, 1B/OF Trevin Esquerre.
The switch-hitting Esquerre broke out at LMU in 2019 with 16 homers among his 37 extra-base hits. What may have appealed to the Detroit Tigers was his tasty slash line of .322/.378/.622. Esquerre was off to a solid start of his senior year (.286/.423/.492 in 16 games) before the COVID-cancellation hit.
Esquerre switch-hits which is always at least an interesting trait to possess. There is some talk the Tigers put the 6’1”/205lb in the outfield to see if they can hold up out in the grass. However, he’s mainly played in the dirt as a 1B. Either way, it’s his bat that will carry him upwards if he makes. If the Tigers view him as the rough equivalent to their 6th round pick or even 10th round pick, the price was certainly gamed by MLB to be right this year. He was in the top 10 among first baseman to draft in Baseball America’s Top 10.
For anyone still unaware of how MLB’s draft worked this year during the COVID crisis, only five rounds of the usual 40 were held. Any player still wishing to sign as an undrafted free agent and would get not one penny over $20,000 in bonus to do so.
The undrafted crop came down to plenty of older college players who were motivated to turn pro for any number of reasons: competitive, financial, college roster crunch, sick of school, worried about being crowded out more in next year’s draft, etc.
It was very interesting to observe Tigers fans in the immediate aftermath of UFDA’s being able to sign. The Tigers, almost universally, received praise for what looks like a very promising 6-man draft class. It took about three days of seeming UFDA inactivity for the afterglow of the draft night to fade ever so slightly. “Why aren’t the Tigers getting $20K guys”…” why do these players wish to go elsewhere?”, etc…
To be honest, given Detroit’s performance over the few seasons, they’re all fair questions. The Tigers need depth even though their organizational prospect rankings have improved on the backs of its young core of exciting arms.
The Rangers and Royals have received plenty of credit for announcing the signings of several mildly interesting players in this period. It is quite frankly a cheap and nearly risk-free way to find the proverbial diamond in the rough.
Finally though…the Tigers got on the board with Esquerre. In reality, they also have time to add more if the right guy is found. It may be a bad look for Al Avila and his front office to not strike early from a PR standpoint. But PR doesn’t win games on its own. It’s a fair bet the Tigers floated $20K at a few guys who all either had a reason geographically to sign elsewhere in MLB or perhaps to return to school.