Nyjer Morgan signs with the Yokohama Bay Stars

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How does one say “Beast Mode” in Japanese?

Free-agent outfielder Nyjer Morgan has signed with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of Japan’s Central League. The team says the 32-year-old Morgan will join the BayStars on a one-year-deal worth $1.6 million.

Probably better than he could do in the U.S., where he was likely to be limited to a minor league deal at best, with around the same sort of money coming in the event he made a team. Now he’s guaranteed that. I just hope he can bring his cat with him.

Morgan, who is 32, had his worst season in the bigs last year, hitting .239/.302/.308 in 322 plate appearances. He’s also an International Smooth Operator:

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.