Danny Espinosa is recovered enough from his wrist injury to be activated from the disabled list, but the second baseman was so bad before being shut down and so bad during his rehab assignment that the Nationals have decided to option him to Triple-A.
Anthony Rendon hitting .338 filling in for Espinosa at second base no doubt played a big part too, but Espinosa was 2-for-17 with 10 strikeouts in six rehab games and hit .158 in 44 games for the Nationals before the DL stint.
Espinosa has talked about liking to work with Triple-A hitting coach Troy Gingrich, who has him studying lots of video of his swing, but unless the Nationals decide that Rendon can’t hack it defensively at second base it could be tough for Espinosa to re-enter their plans.
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.