Sign of a trade? Brandon Phillips not on RedsFest schedule

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Rumors about the Reds trading Brandon Phillips have died down a bit since early in the offseason, but John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer noticed an interesting little tidbit that seems to suggest the second baseman remains likely to be moved.

According to a press release sent out by the team to promote the upcoming RedsFest event “over 70 current and former Reds players, coaches, and broadcasters are scheduled to appear.” And as Fay notes, Phillips isn’t on the list.

Could be nothing, of course, but …

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.