From Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports comes word that the Mariners are “in on” free agent reliever Fernando Rodney, joining the Mets and the Orioles in the three-team hunt for the 36-year-old right-hander.
Rodney wasn’t nearly as dominant in 2013 as he was in 2012, but he still saved 37 games for the Rays and averaged a career-high 96.5 mph on his fastball while striking out 82 batters in 66 2/3 innings.
Rodney is likely seeking a multi-year contract. If the Mariners sign him, they’ll presumably push projected closer Danny Farquhar into a setup role and make Rodney their primary ninth-inning man. Spring training gets underway in a little over two weeks.
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.