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Report: Astros to sign Robinson Chirinos

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletci reports that the Astros and free agent catcher Robinson Chirinos have a deal in place, pending a physical. The specifics of the contract are not yet known but should be shortly.

Chirinos, 34, spent his last six seasons with the Rangers, hitting an aggregate .233/.325/.443 with 67 home runs and 197 RBI across 1,546 plate appearances. He has also graded out mostly as an above-average defender.

Chirinos will share playing time behind the dish with Max Stassi. The Astros utilized Brian McCann and Martín Maldonado along with Stassi this past season, but both went into free agency. McCann signed with the Braves recently while Maldonado is still unsigned.

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.