Jesus Montero’s latest stint in the big leagues was a short one, as the Mariners have demoted the one-time top prospect back to Triple-A to make room for outfielder Michael Saunders’ return from the disabled list.
Saunders missed three weeks with a strained shoulder and comes back after going 9-for-20 during a brief minor-league rehab assignment at Triple-A. He’ll resume playing regularly in the Mariners’ outfield after hitting .265 with four homers and a .741 OPS in 52 games before the injury, more or less matching his production from the past two seasons.
Montero got just 14 at-bats during this latest call-up and wasn’t especially impressive at Triple-A, so his status in the Mariners’ long-term plans is definitely shaky at age 24. Billed as one of the elite hitting prospects around while in the Yankees’ farm system, he’s hit just .252 with 19 homers and a .672 OPS in 169 games for the Mariners since coming over in a deal for Michael Pineda.
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.