Rickie Weeks released by the Mariners

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Seattle has released veteran infielder/outfielder Rickie Weeks after designating him for assignment last week.

Weeks was Milwaukee’s starting second baseman for a decade, but lost the job to Scooter Gennett last season and struggled to find much of a market as a free agent this winter.

He signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Mariners as a left fielder/designated hitter and then hit .167 in 37 games after coming into the season as a 32-year-old with a lifetime .771 OPS in 1,142 games.

He’ll likely have to settle for a minor-league deal and needs to get back on track offensively given how few teams probably still view him as a viable defensive second baseman. Weeks’ best fit at this point is probably as a platoon lefty-masher.

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.