Buster Olney of ESPN.com has a juicy rumor, reporting that the Diamondbacks and Cubs are talking about a potential Jeff Samardzija trade after previously engaging in some talks around the trade deadline.
Samardzija is 29 years old and under team control for 2014 and 2015, but he’s about to get expensive via arbitration and failed to build on a nice 2012 by taking a step backward this year. Of course, even that step backward included racking up 214 strikeouts in 214 innings, but Samardzija posted a 4.33 ERA and now has a 4.32 ERA in 66 career starts.
Adding to the intrigue of a potential move to Arizona is that Samardzija and then-Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams got into a weird little shouting match during a June game and afterward Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson told reporters that Samardzija should “shut the [bleep] up and pitch.” Williams is now the Nationals’ manager and Gibson would surely be willing to forget and forgive to add a mid-90s throwing starter to the rotation.
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.