Cubs are planning to shop starter Jeff Samardzija at next week’s MLB Winter Meetings

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There was a report Sunday stating that the Cubs’ preference with Jeff Samardzija is to work out a long-term contract extension. But it appears that those negotiations have lost all momentum.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is hearing that the Chicago front office plans to “do some serious listening” on the 28-year-old right-hander at next week’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida. The Diamondbacks, Blue Jays and Angels are among the teams that have been floated as potential suitors this offseason.

Samardzija posted a pedestrian 4.34 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 33 starts this summer for the Cubs, but he struck out 214 batters in 213 2/3 innings and had much better rate stats (3.81 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) in 2012.

Samardzija is arbitration-eligible through the 2015 season. He earned a $2.64 million salary in 2013.

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.