Fun Winter Meetings stuff: every Major League manager with the exception of Charlie Manuel and Joe Torre are being made available to the media at set times over the next three days. Today we’ve got Bobby Cox and Jim Riggleman at 2PM, Piniella and Dave Trembley at 2:30, Ozzie Guillen and Terry Francona at 3:00, Ron Washington and Dusty Baker at 3:30 and Don Wakamatsu all by himself at 4PM. Apparently he gets his own deal because the world financial markets hang on Wakamatsu’s every word or something.
I’m going to hang around and may even ask some questions. If any of you have anything you’re just dying to learn from these guys, put it in the comments. Assuming it’s not the sort of thing that’s going to get me punched out, I’ll ask it.
As for reporting it: I’m not going to parrot back all of that “we just take it one game at a time” and “we’re really excited about next year” baloney. If someone says anything interesting, however, I’ll pass it along.
The early money is on Ozzie Guillen.
Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.
The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.
The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.