Rangers sign Mark Prior to minor league contract

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MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports that the Rangers have signed Mark Prior to a minor-league contract and will assign him to Triple-A, but adds that “this is a long-term project and he is not expected to help the Rangers this season.”
Prior hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2006 and hasn’t been both healthy and effective since 2005, but has been working as a reliever for the Orange County Flyers of the independent Golden League.
Who knows what he has left in his injury ravaged arm at this point, but Prior is still just 29 years old and the reports on his velocity out of the bullpen were relatively promising. Considering all he’s been through, it would be nice to see him emerge as a quality reliever in 2011.

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.