Red Sox avoid arbitration with Andrew Miller

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5:45 p.m. EST update: WEEI’s Rob Bradford reports that Miller will make $1.04 million next season. The figure represents the maximum 20 percent paycut he could receive as an arbitration-eligible player. Had the Red Sox wanted to go lower, they would have had to non-tender Miller and re-sign him.

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Former Tigers No. 1 pick Andrew Miller will be back with the Red Sox next season after agreeing to a one-year deal on Tuesday.

Miller, who made $1.3 million last season, likely would have been non-tendered by Boston had he not come to terms before the deadline. While the 26-year-old remains intriguing as a left-hander with a 91-94 mph fastball, the Red Sox weren’t going to risk giving him a significant raise after another year of disappointing results. Miller went 6-3 with a 5.54 ERA in 12 starts and five relief appearances for the club last season.

Miller stands fourth or fifth on Boston’s rotation depth chart as it’s currently comprised, but he won’t be assured anything entering spring training. Since this contract won’t be guaranteed — one-year contracts for arbitration-eligible players almost never are — he could well find himself off the roster if he struggles during March.

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.