D'Backs waiting on word from Kelly Johnson

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The Diamondbacks handed a one-year contract offer to free agent second baseman Kelly Johnson last week thought to be worth around $2 million.  According to a Monday evening report from MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert, they’re hoping to hear back from the infielder within the next few days.

Johnson drew a surprising amount of interest this winter despite posting a disappointing .224/.303/.389 batting line during the regular season.  The Cardinals, Nationals, and Astros were all in the mix for the second
baseman and the Pirates were even considering using him in the outfield.

The D’Backs, though, can offer Johnson what most other clubs haven’t been willing to — a full-time job at second base.  Acquiring the 27-year-old would also allow Arizona management to get serious about dealing infielder Augie Ojeda, who surfaced as a possible trade candidate during December’s Winter Meetings and drew a decent level of interest from opposing clubs.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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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.