Indians release Derek Lowe

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Cleveland’s veteran housecleaning continues, as the Indians have released Derek Lowe one day after releasing Johnny Damon.

Lowe was designated for assignment last week after posting a 5.52 ERA and more walks (45) than strikeouts (41) in 119 innings and, not surprisingly, no teams wanted anything to do with his contract on waivers.

He’s now free to sign with any team for the minimum salary–or maybe just a minor-league deal–and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that Lowe is willing to start or relieve despite not working out of the bullpen since 2001 with the Red Sox.

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.