Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch dropped this moderate bomb — at least moderately interesting bomb — in his chat today:
I’m hearing Ankiel is open to giving pitching one last shot since his market as a position player appears minimal. And, yes, I think the Cardinals would be among those open to providing such an opportunity. For now it remains in the rumor stage. Developing story …
It was amazing enough to see Ankiel come back from yips and injury to carve out a pretty nice career as a major league outfielder. If he could flip the script again and become a reliever or something? Hoo-boy, that’s movie of the week stuff.
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.