Aramis Ramirez expected to replace Placido Polanco on All-Star team

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If Bruce Bochy was given the choice, he probably would have taken Aramis Ramirez in place of Chipper Jones when the latter was ruled out of the All-Star Game following knee surgery.

It wasn’t Bochy’s choice, though, and Scott Rolen, who finished behind Jones in the players’ vote, was forced on him as Chipper’s replacement.

Now, with starting third baseman Placido Polanco out due to a back injury, Bochy will get to make the call and Ramirez is his likely pick, he told ESPN this afternoon.

Ramirez, who has been on fire for a few weeks now, is up to .302/.350/.503 with 15 homers and 50 RBI this season, compared to .244/.277/.403 with five homers and 35 RBI for Rolen.  Since Ryan Zimmerman, David Wright and Pablo Sandoval have all missed big chunks of the first half, Ramirez is the obvious choice to receive the nod.

The only thing that might have stood in Ramirez’s way is Bochy’s fondness for his own third baseman, Sandoval.  Sandoval has hit in 20 straight games and is at .305/.345/.505 for the season, so he there certainly would have been some justification for taking him over Rolen.

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.