La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the Twins have agreed to terms with 2012 No. 2 overall pick Byron Buxton, pending a physical.
Neal’s colleague Joe Christensen was told by Buxton’s agent yesterday that the two sides were close to a deal. The 18-year-old outfielder arrived in Minneapolis today and met with the Twins at Target Field.
No word yet on the amount of Buxton’s bonus, but the slot recommendation for the No. 2 pick is $6.2 million. The Astros gave No. 1 pick Carlos Correa a $4.8 million bonus, well under the slot recommendation of $7.2 million, but that may or may not have an impact on Buxton.
Buxton was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in this year’s draft class by Baseball America and has the proverbial “five tools” that make talent evaluators salivate. The Georgia native is expected to begin his pro career with the Twins’ rookie league team in Fort Myers, Florida.
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.