Cliff Lee says rumored affinity for Yankees is "a lie"

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Take one listen to the Colin Cowherd radio program — “The Herd,” I believe it’s called — and it’s not hard to conceive why people don’t take the guy seriously. 

Cowherd is loud and far from level-headed, and on Monday he made a few ridiculous comments regarding Rangers ace Cliff Lee.

Lee was shelled for eight earned runs on 10 hits against the light-hitting Orioles this weekend.  Instead of chalking it up as a rare bad outing — the type of which every great pitcher has experienced — Cowherd asserted that the left-handed Lee was not trying, and that he “mailed it in” against Baltimore because he “doesn’t care about Texas.”

Cowherd went on to say that sources have told him Lee “will not re-sign with Texas” because he wants to be a Yankee.

That drew a response from Lee on Monday night, via ESPNDallas.com:

“It’s a lie,” Lee said. “Write that. Are you writing? Write that it’s a
lie. I did not say that and nobody close to me would say that. Either
say who the source is or shut up because I am saying it is not true.”

We’re going to side with Lee on this one.  He’s been lights-out, for the most part, since the Rangers acquired him in July and a few bumps in the road don’t necessitate the creation of conspiracy theories. 

A better assumption, if assumptions are even needed, is that the left-hander is focused on reaching the playoffs with his current first-place club and not worried about his impending free agency.  At least not yet.

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.