Red Sox release outfielder Marlon Byrd

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Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reports that the Red Sox have released Marlon Byrd after designating the veteran outfielder for assignment last week.

Byrd made a nice first impression after the Red Sox got him from the Cubs in a mid-April trade, going 10-for-30 (.333) through eight games. However, he hit .243 with one homer and a .557 OPS in 26 games after May 1 and even with their outfield wrecked by injuries the Red Sox deemed him expendable.

Byrd is making $6.5 million in the final season of a three-year, $15 million contract signed with the Cubs in December of 2009, so it’s not surprising that every team passed on claiming him off waivers. Now he’s a free agent and available for a prorated share of the minimum salary, although he may have to settle for a minor-league deal at age 34.

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.