Orioles among teams interested in Bronson Arroyo

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We heard over the weekend that that the Orioles’ top priority was to add a starting pitcher, so it should come as no surprise that ESPN’s Buster Olney names them among the teams interested in free agent right-hander Bronson Arroyo.

Olney writes that contract terms is the big question, but Arroyo won’t cost nearly as much as the likes of Masahiro Tanaka, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana, and Matt Garza. The Grant Balfour deal was recently nixed over health concerns, so the Orioles should still have some money to spend.

Arroyo, who turns 37 in February, posted a 3.79 ERA and 124/34 K/BB ratio over 202 innings last season with the Reds. Like most starting pitchers, his market has been pretty quiet recently, but we should see a lot of movement once there’s some clarity with Tanaka.

The Orioles have also been connected to A.J. Burnett this offseason as they attempt to upgrade their starting rotation, but he is still mulling over the possibility of retirement.

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.