Reds pick up outfield help in Balentien

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I sort of called this one on the old twitter feed a couple of days ago. At least I was hoping that the reason the Reds weren’t calling up Chris Heisey was because they were getting ready to pick up an outfielder.
This actually looks like a Jim Bowden move for Cincinnati. Balentien isn’t a five-tools guy, but he does have 30-homer power and a terrific arm. His career line is sitting at .209/.260/.359 in 401 at-bats, but he’s going to a smaller ballpark now, which should help. He’ll probably never hit for average because he swings and misses so often, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him turn into an adequate regular anyway. How he performs over the rest of this year will determine whether the Reds keep him in their plans for 2010. Heisey, Drew Stubbs and Todd Frazier could all factor into the outfield mix next year, so Balentien may have only a small window to establish himself.
The Mariners did pretty well here in getting Manuel, a reliever who broke through with a 1.25 ERA and a 103/18 K/BB ratio in 86 2/3 innings at three levels of the minors last season. The 26-year-old had a 2.70 ERA for Triple-A Louisville this season, and he pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings during his brief time in the majors. While he doesn’t impress scouts with his 88-92 mph fastball, he has a deceptive delivery and excellent command. He could prove pretty useful in the middle innings, and the Mariners will almost certainly give him an opportunity soon.

Athletics and Mariners to begin the 2019 regular season in Tokyo

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners will begin the 2019 regular season in Japan, in the Tokyo Dome.

The series will mark the third time that the A’s will begin their season in Japan, first doing it in 2008 against the Red Sox and then again in 2012 against the Mariners.

This is just the latest of Major League Baseball’s moves to expand the the game internationally. In addition to those previous series in Japan, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks opened their season in Australia in 2014 and the Dodgers and Padres will play a series in Mexico City this May. There has likewise been talk of the Mets playing a series in London, though those details have not yet been worked out. Obviously the World Baseball Classic represents the league’s effort to broaden the global scope of the once national pastime.

Get ready for early morning baseball, folks.