A-Rod may sit out the All-Star Game

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Alex Rodriguez was voted in as the starting third baseman for the All-Star Game, but he may sit it out in order to rest his ailing knee.

I expect to hear a number of injury-themed bag-jobs on the All-Star Game in the coming days. It always happens and people rarely raise an eyebrow about it.  I don’t expect that to necessarily be the case with A-Rod, though, because people go out of their way to hate on him.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this story, supposedly about Derek Jeter getting 3000 hits, but somehow finding a way to insert this paragraph:

A-Rod is the anti-Jeter, a petulant player with tremendous skills who seems to play the game only for himself. He conned the Yankees into taking him on after three steroid-fueled years in Texas during which he hit 156 home runs, then got a new $275 million deal before he was finally outed as a user of performance-enhancing drugs.

The hate is strong out there. I expect to see A-Rod rage in stories about budget talks and the Middle East pretty soon.

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.