Hideki Matsui’s deal with Rays worth up to $900,000

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Tampa Bay seemingly didn’t have much need for Hideki Matsui when they signed him to a minor-league contract last month, but it turns out the price was low enough that it doesn’t really matter.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times has the details of Matsui’s contract and reports that he’d earn just $900,000 if the Rays call him up to the majors. By comparison, even with a limited market for his services last offseason Matsui managed a one-year, $4.25 million deal from the A’s.

Topkin also reports that Matsui is earning just $10,000 per month while at Triple-A, which is a low figure, but the Rays are also paying his public relations person and interpreter.

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.