On Friday, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports suggested that Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday was working out at first base in Florida ahead of a potential position change, which would allow the club to bolster its outfield. GM John Mozeliak tamped down that buzz on Saturday, saying, “We’ve kind of thrown some things out there in the past to a number of players, Matt being one of them, and we believe where he is, is probably the best spot for him,” per a report from Brian Stull of St. Louis Baseball Weekly.
Holliday, who turns 36 in January, played in only 73 games during the 2015 season due to a quadriceps injury. Ostensibly, his consideration at first base would be an attempt to limit the wear-and-tear on his body as he enters the last year of his seven-year, $120 million contract. The Cardinals will pay Holliday $17 million in 2016 plus $1 million to buy him out next season.
Holliday hit .279/.394/.410 with four home runs and 35 RBI in 277 plate appearances this past season. He has never finished a season with an OPS below .800, but his .804 in 2015 was a career-low.
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.