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Braves sign Tyler Flowers to a contract extension

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Jon Heyman reports that the Braves have signed Tyler Flowers to a one-year contract extension.

Flowers, who would otherwise become a free agent this offseason, will make a base salary of $4 million with a $6 million club option for 2020. That option has a $2 million buyout, making it a $6 million guarantee for the Braves’ backup catcher. And though, yes, technically a backup, Flowers is closer to having the junior portion of a job-sharing agreement with Kurt Suzuki anyway, with Flowers having 230 plate appearances to Suzuki’s 321 in 2018.

Flowers, who is considered one of the better pitch-framers in the game, has done well at the plate in this three seasons with the Braves, hitting a combined .264/.365/.409 (OPS+ of 107) in 925 plate appearances. Now he’ll get at least one more season and possibly two in Atlanta.

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.