Tigers unlikely to be talked into signing Rafael Soriano

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Scott Boras has been trying to set up the Tigers and reliever Rafael Soriano since the Winter Meetings began. And perhaps even before. But it does not sound like the Detroit decision-makers are enticed.

Danny Knobler of CBS Sports heard from sources inside the Tigers front office on Saturday that owner Mike Ilitch “won’t be talked into Soriano.” Perhaps that’ll change if the asking price drops. Or maybe there’s truly a strong belief within the organization that Bruce Rondon is ready for a shot at closer.

The Tigers just committed a five-year, $80 million contract to right-handed starter Anibal Sanchez and don’t seem inclined to turn around and throw big money at a ninth-inning man.

Soriano registered a superb 2.26 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 69/24 K/BB ratio across 67 2/3 frames this past season for the American League East-champion Yankees while converting 42 saves in 46 opportunities.

The 32-year-old free agent is believed to seeking a multi-year contract worth $10 million annually.

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.