Brewers agree to $2.35 million deal with Nyjer Morgan to avoid arbitration

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Nyjer Morgan and the Brewers have avoided arbitration with a one-year deal worth $2.35 million, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.

Morgan began last season in a backup role for the Brewers after coming over in spring training trade from the Nationals, but Carlos Gomez’s injury opened up the door for him to become the starting center fielder and Morgan hit .304 with a .778 OPS in 119 games.

He was arbitration eligible for the first time after earning $450,000 in 2011, so Morgan gets a five-fold raise and will be under team control for two more seasons. Milwaukee previously avoided arbitration with Gomez by signing him for $1.95 million, but Morgan is expected to be the Opening Day starter.

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.