Nationals prospect Chris Marrero expected to miss entire first half with torn hamstring

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Chris Marrero tore his hamstring while playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic and Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that the Nationals prospect is not expected to return to game action until after the All-Star break.

Marrero would have been behind Adam LaRoche on the first base depth chart anyway, so he may have started the season in the minors even if healthy, but platooning with LaRoche may have been a possibility before the injury and this is a major setback for a 23-year-old whose big-league future was cloudy already.

Marrero was the 15th overall pick in the 2006 draft coming out of high school, but hasn’t developed the power or plate discipline needed to become a top-notch first base prospect. He hit .300 at Triple-A last season, but managed just 14 homers and 58 walks in 127 games for a relatively modest .825 OPS.

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.