The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is over a month away, but the winds of change are already blowing.
According to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune, scouts from the Orioles, Phillies and Blue Jays were in attendance at Petco Park for Edinson Volquez’s start on Saturday night against the Dodgers. The Royals also had a scout in the building, but Center suspects that he was looking into either a corner outfielder or middle infielder.
Volquez went 5 2/3 innings against Los Angeles, yielding five runs — two earned — on two hits and seven walks. He has a disappointing 5.67 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in 16 total starts this season.
The right-hander is scheduled to become a free agent this winter. He’s making $5.725 million in 2013.
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.