Carlos Beltran is in shape, running without a knee brace

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Let’s just consider this another one of those posts where the headline says it all. But the guild requires a body as well as a headline so let us just note that Ken Davidoff is reporting that Beltran is feeling great and, unlike last year, is running without a brace on his bum knee.

This is a big year for Beltran, obviously, given that his deal is up after the season.  If he can show that he’s healthy and that speed is still a part of his game, he’s going to make himself some money.  If he’s gimpy and fragile, he’s going to be cast into that giant vat of once-great, but now merely good bats that make the DH/LF rounds each winter like Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon and the like.

Based on how he was swinging late last year and these optimistic health reports, I think Beltran is likely to avoid that track and will be be a regular outfielder for a few more years.  At least I hope so.  I like watching the dude play.

 

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.