Casey Kotchman is making a comeback with the Royals

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Journeyman first baseman Casey Kotchman has signed a minor-league deal with the Royals after sitting out last season.

Kotchman was the Angels’ first-round pick in 2001 and played 10 seasons in the majors for seven different teams, most recently with the Marlins in 2013.

He’s a good defensive first baseman and controls the strike zone well, but Kotchman lacks power for the position and is a career .260 hitter with a .711 OPS in 939 games.

Kansas City has Eric Hosmer at first base and signed Kendrys Morales for a bunch of money to replace Billy Butler at designated hitter, so there isn’t much room for Kotchman beyond serving as Triple-A depth.

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.