J.P. Crawford
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Report: Mariners interested in J.P. Crawford

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic hears that the Mariners have expressed interest in trading for Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford as part of a swap that would send fellow shortstop Jean Segura to the National League. Nothing appears to be anywhere close to done just yet, however, as the Mariners are reportedly talking to multiple clubs about their All-Star shortstop and would need him to waive his full no-trade clause in order to approve any potential deal.

Crawford, meanwhile, has yet to break out at the major league level. The 23-year-old finished his sophomore season in Philadelphia with a mediocre .214/.319/.393 batting line, three home runs, and a .712 OPS across 138 plate appearances, though his numbers played up a bit during his rehab stint in Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He also dealt with his first significant setback after fracturing his left hand on a hit-by-pitch in mid-June, and was subsequently limited to just six starts during the second half of the season.

While the Phillies have maintained interest in adding Segura (and closer Edwin Díaz, prior to Seattle’s pending deal with the Mets) to their roster this offseason, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia adds that they have no apparent intent to abandon their pursuit of free agent infielder Manny Machado. If a Mariners-Phillies deal comes to fruition over the next several months, expect the Phillies to make a play for Machado with the intent to shift him over to third base.

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.