Rumors are swirling about the Cubs playing in U.S. Cellular Field in 2013

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Not necessarily strong rumors. Not from any baseball insider types who usually chatter about goings on in MLB.  But this story from NBC Chicago about rumors of the Cubs moving to the south side to play in U.S. Cellular Field while Wrigley Field undergoes a renovation is interesting enough.

To be sure, the story leads with the Cubs’ denial of such a thing, with a spokesman for the Ricketts family saying “I have never heard of a done deal of moving home games to the ‘Cell.'”  But of course, that insertion of “a done deal” is an equivocation, no?  If there were a done deal lots of people would know about it.  What we want to know is if it’s actually being discussed as a realistic option.

Because some folks are discussing it:

Workers at U.S. Cellular tell a different story. They say they  are being warned of a much busier 2013 season (as in, prepare for double the games). Bridgeport bar owners tell a similar story.

Could be empty chatter. As Neil deMause of “Field of Schemes” notes, it could be a trial balloon to gauge public sentiment.  And of course, the Cubs don’t even have renovation money secured yet, so it may all be moot for now.

But it would be interesting seeing the Cubs play in U.S. Cellular Field.  If, for no other reason, we’d get to see if anyone would truly care about them without Wrigley Field as part of the equation.

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.