Rob Manfred voted in as new MLB commissioner

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UPDATE: Manfred’s election was just made official in a press conference. Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com has some quotes:

6:16 p.m. ET: Manfred ended up being elected unanimously, which is a positive thing from an optics perspective, even though there was some objection.

6:04 p.m. ET: After a long day of deliberations in Baltimore, MLB owners have finally voted in Rob Manfred as Bud Selig’s successor as MLB commissioner.

Manfred, 55, will be the 10th commissioner in MLB history. Selig, who has served as commissioner since 1992, will retire when his contract expires on January 25, 2015.

Manfred was one of three candidates at the start of today, along with MLB’s Executive Vice President of Business Tom Brosnan and Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. However, Brosnan dropped out of the race around midday. Manfred received 22 out of 30 votes in the balloting earlier this afternoon, leaving him one vote short of election, but the owners (likely with some serious convincing from Selig) were eventually able to bridge the gap and reach a consensus. Per the New York Daily News, the Blue Jays, Red Sox, White Sox, Nationals, Angels, Athletics, Diamondbacks, and Reds were the teams who initially backed Werner over Manfred.

Selig’s preferred successor, Manfred has been involved with baseball since 1987. He became MLB’s executive vice president for labor relations and human resources in 1998 before his role was expanded to include executive vice president of economics and league affairs in 2012. He was promoted the position of chief operating officer last September, reporting directly to Selig, a move which essentially signified that he was the heir apparent for the job. During his time with MLB, he has helped lead negotiations for three collective bargaining agreements (2002, 2006, and 2011) as well as the joint drug agreement.

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.