Over the winter, Yankees president Randy Levine made a comment about Angels outfielder Mike Trout to explain why the Yankees didn’t offer second baseman Robinson Cano — now a Mariner — a ten-year deal. Levine said, “If Mike Trout was here, I would recommend a 10-year contract. But for people over 30, I don’t believe it makes sense. I don’t think Hal [Steinbrenner] thinks it makes sense. We were very clear about that.”
Trout, at the time, was still negotiating a contract extension with the Angels. He would agree to a six-year, $144.5 million extension with the Angels at the end of March. In the meantime, Major League Baseball investigated Levine for his comment, as it could be considered tampering. Club officials aren’t allowed to discuss players under contract for other teams as they could influence, positively or negatively, that player’s marketability.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that commissioner Bud Selig is considering fining Levine for his comment. The amount of the potential fine has not been disclosed.
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.