Derrek Lee turns down Yankees, will stay retired

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In the wake of Mark Teixeira’s right wrist injury, the Yankees contacted Derrek Lee to see if he would be interested in coming out of retirement to fill in at first base. However, they are going to have to go back to the drawing board.

Lee is just the latest retired player to turn down the Yankees, joining former Braves third baseman Chipper Jones. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman confirmed to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that he also reached out to Scott Rolen, but he got the impression that he will not play this season.

Assuming the Yankees stick to internal options, they could go with Dan Johnson, Juan Rivera or Kevin Youkilis at first base. If Youkilis plays first, Jayson Nix, Eduardo Nunez and Ronnier Mustelier are among the possibilities to fill in at third.

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.