Victorino says his contract status is on his mind

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I bet every single player who is approaching free agency thinks about it. They usually say it doesn’t enter their mind, but it has to, right?  Shane Victorino is one of the rare ones who admits that the pressures of impending free agency do weigh on his mind:

“I can’t say they’re not. … I also can’t say they are,” Victorino said. “Is there a little something in the back of my mind, yeah. You want to have your best year.”

He also says that he’d love to stay in Philly and would like to start talks now if possible.  That’s not likely to happen — you figure the Phillies will wait and deal with Cole Hamels first — but if Ruben Amaro does see Victorino as someone he wants to keep around long term, it wouldn’t be the worst time to make an offer, would it?  Victorino is off to a slow start and could probably be had a bit cheaper now than he might if he turns things around in the second half.

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.