The Orioles are talking to the Diamondbacks about Jason Kubel

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles are pursuing a trade for Jason Kubel of the Diamondbacks. Talks aren’t at an advanced stage or anything.

This is not the first we’ve heard of the O’s interest in him, as Jon Heyman reported it a couple of weeks ago. But the fact that there is still a dialogue means that the interest remains on the Orioles’ part and that, in all likelihood, there is mutual interest in getting a deal done.

Kubel is due $7.5 million next year in the final guaranteed year of his contract. He hit .253/.327/.506 with 30 homers and 90 RBI in his first year with the Diamondbacks.

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.