Fred Talbot: 1941-2013

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Fred Talbot, a right-hander from Virginia who pitched eight seasons in the majors for the Yankees, A’s, White Sox, and Pilots from 1963-1970, passed away last week at age 71.

Talbot had a 38-56 record and 4.12 ERA in 854 career innings despite playing in the pitcher-friendly 1960s, but I’ll forever remember him as a prominent character in the greatest baseball book of all time, Jim Bouton’s must-read “Ball Four.”

Bouton and Talbot often had an adversarial relationship as Yankees and Pilots teammates, but he was also portrayed as an amusing story-teller and the victim of a pretty great prank.

His obituary was published in the Washington Post.

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.