Padres Finally Able to Let Jabari Blash Play Baseball

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Apr 10, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; San Diego Padres pinch hitter Jabari Blash (32) heads home to score a run in the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Rockies defeated the Padres 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; San Diego Padres pinch hitter Jabari Blash (32) heads home to score a run in the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Rockies defeated the Padres 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Padres get to keep Jabari Blash after all. By now, you know that I am a Jabari Blash fan. So today, I am happy. The best possible outcome in the Blash situation has happened.

The San Diego Padres completed a trade with the Seattle Mariners, obtaining the rights to Blash. He will be assigned to the Padres AAA club in El Paso, where he should have an opportunity to play baseball more than every once in a while.

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This pleases me.

You know by now that Blash was one of the Rule 5 guys the Padres picked up this offseason, that he hardly got any playing time for the first quarter of the season, and that the team designated him for assignment several days ago. That meant he had to clear waivers, then be offered back to the Mariners. But A.J. Preller got Blash back in a trade from Seattle for cash considerations.

In El Paso, Blash should get much more regular at bats than he did in San Diego. Although the Chihuahuas’ outfield is already pretty loaded with Manuel Margot, Alex Dickerson, and Hunter Renfroe, the organization clearly feels that Blash has enough potential to keep him around, and they’re going to make sure he has an opportunity to succeed.

The fact that he cleared waivers and that the Mariners let him go so cheaply doesn’t say much for what other teams think of the nearly 27-year old Blash’s possibilities of becoming an impact player. The Mariners’s outfield is terrible. And even though Blash showed no indication this year that he’s ready for major league pitching, they could have put him back in AAA, where he hit 22 homers in fewer than 200 AB last year.

But I don’t care what the rest of baseball thinks. I’m a fan.

I’m not sure why I like Blash so much. I don’t know all that much about him. I’ve seen him for all of about 40 AB between Spring Training and this season with the Padres. Usually it takes me a long time to decide if I like a player or not. But Blash became an instant favorite. Maybe it’s the name: Jabari Blash. Cool first name, awesome last name for a power hitter. It’s almost onomatopoeic. It’s a combination of two power words – blast and bash. And Jabari means “strong” in Swahili and “brave” in Egyptian. It would be like having a speedster named Accelerator Whoosh.

Maybe it’s that he’s from the Virgin Islands. It’s awesome when athletes come from countries that aren’t known for that sport. People loved the Jamaican bobsled team. Manute Bol was a national hero in the Sudan. The Virgin Islands don’t have much history with baseball, at least at the major league level. Elrod Hendricks is probably the most famous player from there.

Maybe it’s because he’s kind of an underdog. Blash was a latecomer to baseball. Growing up in the Virgin Islands, he didn’t start playing the game until he was 15 years old. While plenty of American and Dominican kids have been playing since the time they could walk, Blash started playing only eleven years ago. And in that amount of time, he’s gotten to the point where he can mash the ball in AAA. I love that kind of success story.

But mostly I think it’s because I saw him absolutely crush the ball in Spring Training this year. I stood and watched his entire batting practice on several different days, and just marveled at how much farther he hit the ball than anyone else. It was impressive. And he has this weird stance he does between pitches, with his hips forward and his lower back kind of curved. He’s quirky and he hits the ball a mile. And I like that. And from everything I’ve heard, he’s just got a great personality. What’s not to like?

Next: Padres Activate Alexi Amarista from DL

So now that’s he’s going to El Paso, maybe I’ll stop writing about him so much. I’m not making any promises though. If he starts mashing at Triple-A like he did last year, you can bet I’ll be writing about him again. And hoping that he ends up mashing for the Padres sometime in the not-too-distant future.

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