He'd refuse to do it. He's that obstinate about the issue.
To hit righthanded against righthanders he needs to learn to hit with the ball coming from his side, something he's never done since his dad made him into a switch hitter at age 7 (I think.)
His dad didn't do him any favor there, and let that be a lesson to dads out there.
Anyway, you can't all of a sudden learn this at the major league level. So he would need to be sent down to the minors, for at least half a season, maybe a whole season. Would management have the courage of conviction to do that?
I don't think obstinate is the right word here. I think he and the team are in complete agreement that he should continue to pinch hit. At least every public quote is to that effect. If you can find one from anyone in the organization, player or management, who has implied otherwise, then that would be a great addition to the thread. Here is the Webster's definition of "obstinate":
"1) perversely adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion.
I just don't see any evidence of the team trying to persuade him to do anything else and him refusing. I don't see this as something the team thinks is good, so I don't think it's his hard-headedness against "reason, arguments, or persuasion."
His function in the batting order is to be the 3d lefty power threat in addition to Harper and ALR. 14 out of his 17 homers this year were left handed. He had one homer every 34 plate appearances vs. righties as a lefty. That is still worse than Morse, Zimmerman, and Desmond (and Suzuki, post-trade) did against same-handed pitchers, so maybe the power threat isn't all that important to the roster balance, but I'm guessing that is the thinking. In comparison, he had one homer every 60 PAs as a righty.
He had a pretty good May, July, and August (OPS .760, .820, and .750 overall, with that .820 being driven by freaky high BABIP so it should be discounted). We know he had a cortisone shot in September after hiding an injury. We also know he bunted 14 times all year, with only 3 for sacrifices, yet he bunted at least twice in the 5 game series. I would not be shocked if he has some sort of off season surgery.
If the team does not re-sign ALR, I don't see them going into next year with just one lefty power bat. With Morse's difficulties in the OF, the right move replacement for ALR would be be a power hitting corner OF, unless you move Morse to get that player. If the new power hitting lefty does not come in, then I don't see Espinosa losing his job.
If ALR is back, or replaced with another lefty power hitter, I could see Espinosa being traded, with Lombo as a fill in until Rendon is ready. This is viable if they project Rendon as a mid-season call up. Bring in two lefty power bats (or ALR plus one), then this becomes very sensible.