Report: The Yankees sign Randy Winn

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Joel Sherman reports. One year deal. Sherman says it’s for that last $2 million that Johnny Damon couldn’t stoop to take.

I suppose there are ways the Yankees could rub Johnny Damon and Scott Boras’ face in it more than they already have today, but I’m struggling to imagine how.  Signing Canseco, maybe?  Ruben Rivera? Ronan Tynan?

As for Winn, he had 790 OPSs and played good right field defense in 2007 and 2008, but fell all of
the way to .262/.318/.353 last season. What’s worse is that while he’s a switch hitter, he hit.158/.184/.200 in 125 plate appearances vs lefties last year, which is the single worst split since at least 1954 (Retrosheet doesn’t have data before then) (thanks to Jay Jaffe for that tidbit).

Ultimately Winn is a bench player who could back up Nick Swisher and whoever gets the left field job (though if he brings anything different to the table than does Brett Gardner I’m struggling to see what it is).  He’s also taking up the last Yankee roster spot into which Johnny Damon could have dreamed of falling.  UPDATE: Wow, even Heyman has written Damon off.

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.