White Sox ink Jenks, Quentin to one-year deals

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Thumbnail image for bobby jenks white sox.jpgThe White Sox and reliever Bobby Jenks avoided arbitration on Saturday by agreeing to a one-year, $7.5 million contract.
Jenks, who turns 29 in March, will receive a $1.9 million raise over a
2009 season that saw him post a 3.79 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 27 saves in 35
chances.

Jenks fought a very public battle with the White Sox over the past few
months about his conditioning, a conflict some thought could lead to
him possibly being traded or even non-tendered in December. Amid
concerns about his weight, Jenks was sidelined during the season with
kidney stones and missed the final 12 games of the season with a
strained calf muscle.

2009 was mostly a reversal of fortunes for Jenks, as his strikeout rate
rebounded (8.27 K/9 from 5.55 K/9 in 2008) and he saw some more
giddy-up on his fastball, but he gave up a career-high nine home runs
in 53 1/3 innings, ultimately inflating his ERA. Pretty fluky, really,
since he’s primarily a groundball pitcher. Still, the conditioning angle is
something to watch this spring, as the White Sox have Matt Thornton and
J.J. Putz at the ready should Jenks continue to fall out of favor in
the organization.

The White Sox also avoided arbitration with outfielder Carlos Quentin
on Saturday by agreeing to a one-year, $3.2 million contract. Limited
to just 99 games last season due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot,
the 27-year-old Quentin batted .236/.323/.456 with 21 homers and 56 RBI.

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.