Orioles claim Luis Exposito off waivers from Red Sox, designate Josh Bell for assignment

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Josh Bell, who twice cracked Baseball America‘s top 100 prospects list and was traded from the Dodgers to the Orioles for George Sherrill in mid-2009, has been designated for assignment.

Baltimore dropped Bell from the 40-man roster to make room for catcher Luis Exposito, whom they claimed off waivers from Boston. Exposito is a 26-year-old career minor leaguer with a .665 OPS at Triple-A, so he’s purely backup material.

All of which says a lot about how far Bell’s stock has fallen, which is what happens when you hit just .200 with three homers, a .485 OPS, and a horrendous 78-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio through 226 plate appearances as a big leaguer. Bell also hasn’t hit much at Triple-A, but he’s still young enough that another team might claim him off waivers.

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.