Marlins sign former closer Kevin Gregg

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When last we heard from veteran reliever Kevin Gregg it was April and he was bashing sabermetrics, complaining that the Cubs didn’t re-sign him, and “just waiting for an opportunity” to return to the majors at age 36.

Gregg will apparently get that opportunity in Miami, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Marlins have signed the right-hander to a minor-league contract with plans to call him up after a week or two in the minors getting back into game shape.

Gregg was the Marlins’ closer in 2007 and 2008, saving a total of 61 games with a 3.48 ERA in 153 innings. In the five seasons since then he has a combined 4.18 ERA and ugly rate of 4.8 walks per nine innings. “Proven closer” silliness aside, he shouldn’t be more than a middle reliever at this point.

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.