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Nationals nearing trade for Indians catcher Yan Gomes

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Nationals are in “serious discussions” with the Indians regarding a trade for catcher Yan Gomes.

The Nationals already brought back Kurt Suzuki on a free agent deal, so picking up Gomes would constitute a total catching overhaul going forward. If the trade happens it’ll be a $17 million total investment for 2019, with Suzuki making $10 million this coming season (and for 2020), with Gomes making $7 million. There are also club options on Gomes for $9 and 11 million in 2020 and 2021.

Gomes, an excellent defender, has had up-and-down offensive numbers over the years. He looked to be a star in the making after posting strong numbers at the plate in 2013 and 2014, but he cratered over the next three seasons. This past season, however, he rebounded to a respectable .266/.313/.449 and hit 16 homers.

What the Nats might send back to Cleveland is unknown.

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.