Kirk Gibson is (still) sticking with Addison Reed as the Diamondbacks’ closer

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At this point I like to imagine that Diamondbacks beat reporter Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic has the same routine so ingrained into his life that even on off days he wakes up, cooks a nice, sensible breakfast, and asks no one in particular “is Addison Reed still the closer?”

Today he asked that question of Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, which he’s done seemingly a dozen times before, and the answer was the same as always: Yes.

Reed remains in the ninth-inning role despite blowing his fifth save of the season yesterday, serving up his ninth home run in just 36.2 innings while his ERA ballooned to 4.42.

Reed has always been an extreme fly-ball pitcher, which made him a poor fit for Arizona’s ballpark when the Diamondbacks acquired him from the White Sox this offseason, and for all the talk of his top-notch raw stuff and his impressive-looking save totals the 25-year-old right-hander now has a 4.23 ERA in 170 innings as a big leaguer.

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.