Jim Bowden tweets that both John Smoltz and Pedro Martinez will wait until after the season gets going to sign a deal, a la Pedro’s thing with the Phillies last year. The New York Post’s Adam Rubin reported as much a few weeks ago with respect to Smoltz. Most people probably assumed that Martinez would do it again considering that it worked pretty nicely for him last year.
I like it. In addition to a short season helping mask some of Smoltz and Pedro’s obvious durability concerns, they’ll simply look like more appealing options to a number of teams once the optimism of spring dissolves and teams’ existing starters get hurt or turn back into pumpkins or whatever.
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.