Marlins trade Justin Ruggiano to Cubs for Brian Bogusevic

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Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that the Marlins have traded outfielder Justin Ruggiano to the Cubs for outfielder Brian Bogusevic.

Ruggiano was pushed into extended action for the Marlins this year and struggled, hitting just .222 with a .694 OPS in 128 games, but if limited to a part-time role he’s capable of knocking around left-handed pitching. For his career Ruggiano has an .834 OPS versus lefties compared to a .700 OPS versus righties, so in Chicago a platoon with left-handed bats Nate Schierholtz or Ryan Sweeney makes sense.

Bogusevic is a former first-round pick, but that was all the way back in 2005 and he was drafted as a pitcher. Now he’s a 29-year-old outfielder and career .236 hitter with a .682 OPS in the majors. He did put up some big numbers at Triple-A this year, but the previous three seasons there were underwhelming.

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.