Indians waive former top-10 pick Jeremy Sowers

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Once upon a time Jeremy Sowers was considered a big part of the Indians’ long-term plans, as the former sixth overall pick in the 2004 draft breezed through the minors and went 7-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 14 starts as a 23-year-old rookie in 2006.
Unfortunately he’s been a mess ever since, posting ERAs of 6.42, 5.58, and 5.25 while splitting the past three seasons between Cleveland’s rotation and Triple-A, and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Indians have placed him on waivers.
Despite being a top-10 pick Sowers never had a particularly high ceiling, but he was billed as an MLB-ready middle-of-the-rotation starter with “polish” and “command” coming out of Vanderbilt. Instead he’s turned out to be merely a soft-tossing southpaw with a high-80s fastball, amazingly hittable changeup, mediocre control, and non-existent strikeout rate.
In the three years since his promising debut Sowers has gone 11-26 with a 5.63 ERA and .291 opponents’ batting average in 312 innings, which along with underwhelming raw stuff is why the Indians were willing to cut a former top-10 pick loose before his 27th birthday. And why he may go unclaimed on waivers and remain in the organization after losing his spot on the 40-man roster.

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.