Pirates release arbitration eligible pitcher Ross Ohlendorf

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Ross Ohlendorf was arbitration eligible for the second time and would have earned around $2 million even after a miserable season, so the Pirates decided to release the right-hander.

Ohlendorf was much better than his 1-11 record in 2010, posting a 4.07 ERA in 108 innings, but his ERA ballooned to 8.15 ERA in 39 innings this year and he missed most of the season with shoulder and back injuries.

As a 29-year-old pitcher with a 4.77 career ERA in 393 innings Ohlendorf should be able to land a major-league deal elsewhere, assuming he’s healthy.

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.