Cubs Release Tazawa... But He Could Be Back

3/26 UPDATE 

The Cubs have indeed re-signed RHP Junichi Tazawa to a new (different) 2019 minor league contract. 

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3/23 ORIGINAL POST 

The Cubs released NRI RHRP Junichi Tazawa today, but that might not be the end of the Tazawa-Cubs connection.

Because Tazawa was a post-2018 Article XX-B MLB free-agent who signed a minor league contract more than ten days prior to MLB Opening Day (he was signed on January 26th), the CBA mandates that if the Cubs did not release Tazawa by today (five days prior to MLB Opening Day), the Cubs would have had to either add him to their MLB 40-man roster (and 25-man roster) by MLB Opening Day or else pay him a $100K retention bonus with a June 1st opt-out. 

So it's possible that the Cubs will re-sign Tazawa to a new (different) minor league contract without the automatic Article XX-B retention bonus and/or the June 1st opt-out (the Cubs actually did exactly this in 2016 with Shane Victorino, Manny Parra, and Munenori Kawasaki).

Comments

Right on, he is back.

r.rosario makes the team over k.ryan for the assumed open lefty slot vacated by duensing.

I just gotta say - is JHey going to give us his typical struggle to break the .250 mark and .700 OPS? He has slightly improved actually the last 2 years.

But his D is slghtly declining, can't hit lefies much, can't hit righties THAT much better (but one can always count on him for a nice 4-3 to kill an inning).

Its interesting that BR has his most similar comps as:

  1. Lloyd Moseby (942.0)
  2. Jeff Francoeur (940.3)
  3. Claudell Washington (929.5)
  4. Chili Davis (928.0)
  5. Melvin Upton Jr. (923.3)
  6. Willie Davis (918.0)
  7. Bob Bailey (914.8)
  8. Jose Cardenal (912.0)

My general *feeling* about Hewyard's offense is pessimism. I've only seen bad Heyward for the last 3 years, and it's difficult not to expect more of the same.

Giving away my youth a bit here, but the two names that jump out at me on that list are Francoeur and Upton. I see the comparitive value in that they both had some high value years early in their careers and then declined sharply. But Francoeur and Upton had clearer causes to their struggles at the plate. Francoeur had that super aggressive approach and Upton had strikeout issues, each of which were exploitable. Heyward is weird in that his plate discipline numbers have been pretty stable during his decline, but the quality of his contact is terrible. (I'm relying on the eyeball test a lot there, as the numbers available for that are pretty limited.)

I have the sense that quality of contact issues are less predictable from one season to the next than plate discipline issues and that their causes are difficult to pinpoint. The narrative around Heyward has been that his swing mechanics are the issue. But I don't think there's a lot of rigorous analysis out there so far about how effectively players can really adjust mechanics at the MLB level or what the side effects of those adjustments are. May Heyward will be the touchstone when those articles get published?

new rule...no more massive multi-year $23m/yr contracts to guys with a .350-ish ob% that hit 10-15 homers just because they handle their 2 defensive chances a game in RF really well.

physically, heyward looked great coming into spring.  he's not massively bulked, but he looked very fit with a bit more muscle on his arms.  no homers and 2 doubles in 42 spring PA, though.

he spent of most the spring setting up in the back of the box with a wide stance which did him no favors with anything breaking.

all that aside, we'll probably see a good bit of mark zagunis in RF/LF (especially vs lefties) and heyward will probably see a bit more time in CF with happ gone.  though zag will probably K a bit on the high side, he will take a walk and he's not slow...he could emerge as a solid cubs leadoff hitter when he plays.  personally, i'm very excited about zag and what he showed this spring.

rob zastryzny is now in the dodgers organization...good for him.

Glad to hear that.

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  • crunch 11 hours 39 min ago (view)

    Dale Murphy @DaleMurphy3

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  • crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
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