Demoted closer Edward Mujica makes Cardinals’ playoff roster

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Edward Mujica pitched himself out of the Cardinals’ closer role and was so shaky down the stretch that there was speculation about leaving him off the playoff roster, but he’ll be part of the bullpen for the NLDS.

Mujica has struggled with shoulder problems and allowed opponents to hit .514 in September, giving up runs in six of his 10 outings on the way to an 11.05 ERA for the month. It’s hard to imagine the Cardinals using him in a high-leverage situation, so perhaps they’re hoping a mop-up appearance or two could make him a semi-reliable option later in the playoffs.

Trevor Rosenthal converted three straight save appearances to finish the season after replacing Mujica in the ninth inning and the 23-year-old rookie posted a 2.63 ERA with 108 strikeouts in 75 innings overall.

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.