UPDATE: Rangers “getting closer” to deal for Cubs’ Matt Garza

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Matt Garza has been on an impressive roll of late, winning five straight starts while posting a 1.24 ERA and 38/10 K/BB ratio over his last six. While we still have a little under two weeks to go before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Cubs want to strike while the iron is hot.

Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports and Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports also hear that the Rangers are involved in talks for Garza. In fact, Rosenthal and Morosi are reporting that the Rangers are “most motivated” of any of the teams in the mix. The Dodgers, Red Sox, Cardinals, Indians, and Diamondbacks are among the other clubs who have expressed interest.

Garza is currently slated to make his next start on Monday against the Diamondbacks, so if Olney’s source is to be believed, we could see a resolution within the next couple of days.

UPDATE: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears from one official involved in talks between the Cubs and Rangers that a deal is getting closer. Prospects from various levels are being discussed and Rosenthal writes that Mike Olt is “possibly” involved.

UPDATE II: Rosenthal hears from sources that prospect right-hander C.J. Edwards is also in play in talks for Garza. The 21-year-old has a 1.83 ERA and 122/34 K/BB ratio over 93 1/3 innings in 18 starts this season with Class A Hickory.

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.