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Justin Bour signs with Japan’s Hanshin Tigers

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Free agent first baseman Justin Bour has a new team: the Hanshin Tigers of NPB.

Bour, who will turn 32 in May, spent 2019 with the Angels, playing in only 52 games and posting a line of .172/.259/.364 and hitting 8 homers in 170 plate appearances. He was better before that, of course, spending the 2018 season with the Marlins and Phillies, hitting an aggregate .227/.341/.404 with 20 home runs and 59 RBI in 501 plate appearances. His 2017 was even better, as he smacked 25 homers and posted a .902 OPS (143 OPS+) in 108 games for Miami.

As a corner platoon guy over 30 who is exposed against lefties who is coming off a bad year, it wouldn’t been a tall order for him to land a guaranteed deal for 2020 this winter. However it wouldn’t be hard to see him snapping back into form in Japan, so this is probably a good move for him.

Report: Mets sign Brad Brach to one-year, $850,000 contract

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mets and free agent reliever Brad Brach have agreed on a one-year deal worth $850,000. The contract includes a player option for the 2021 season with a base salary of $1.25 million and additional performance incentives.

Brach, 33, signed as a free agent with the Cubs this past February. After posting an ugly 6.13 ERA over 39 2/3 innings, the Cubs released him in early August. The Mets picked him up shortly thereafter. Brach’s performance improved, limiting opposing hitters to six runs on 15 hits and three walks with 15 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings through the end of the season.

While Brach will add some much-needed depth to the Mets’ bullpen, his walk rate has been going in the wrong direction for the last three seasons. It went from eight percent in 2016 to 9.5, 9.7, and 12.8 percent from 2017-19. Needless to say the Mets are hoping that trend starts heading in the other direction next season.