Kevin Millar puts off TV gig for independent ball

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Last month, after failing to land spot on the Cubs’ bench, Kevin Millar retired and took a job with MLB Network, saying:

Working with the guys at the MLB Network is the next best thing to actually being in a clubhouse. I’m really excited to get started and have some fun.

In the three weeks since then Millar apparently changed his mind, because today he signed to play for the independent league St. Paul Saints.
Millar actually began his professional career with the Saints in 1993, back when he was 21 years old and they frequently had players snatched up by MLB organizations. In fact, five different guys from that 1993 team went on to play in the majors.
Millar signed with the Marlins in 1994 and after four more seasons in the minors eventually got his shot, playing a dozen seasons with Florida, Boston, Baltimore, and Toronto. He returns 17 years later, apparently unwilling to call it quits at age 38. Clearly “the next best thing to actually being in a clubhouse” can’t compete with actually being in a clubhouse, independent league or not.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for MLB Network informs me that Millar “will still continue his on-air role on MLB Network throughout this season” and in fact will be on “MLB Tonight” … well, tonight.

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.