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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  • Charlie 4 hours 31 min ago (view)

    Lol at Nico getting nominated for riding the bench a lot.

     

  • crunch 6 hours 29 min ago (view)

    RF Jason Heyward, SS Javier Baez, 2B Nico Hoerner, 1B Anthony Rizzo, C Willson Contreras, and Ps Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills gold glove finalists

     

  • bradsbeard 10 hours 25 min ago (view)

    Thank you, sir! Sounds like a nice get for the Cubs, and a good project for (what's left of) the new development infrastructure. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 11 hours 14 min ago (view)

    There have been some holes in the AZIL east-side schedule, with one team canceling games last week (although they are back playing this week) and another canceling game this week due to CoViD-19 issue, so the other teams (like the Cubs) are making up some of the "lost" games with intrasquad and in-house "sim" games. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 12 hours 9 min ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: From what I have seen of Jacob Wetzel so far (BP, fielding practice, base-running drills, sim games, AZIL games, and yesterday's intasquad game), I would say he looks like a football running back playing baseball in that he has a high motor and plays with a bit of an edge.

    He has a thick body but he also has plus speed (very much like a football running back in that respect), he runs the bases aggressively, makes hard contact, has HR power, a decent arm, maybe can use some work in the outfield as far as tracking balls. 

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    Phil, curious if you've seen enough of Jacob Wetzel to offer an initial scouting report. Just from watching some prep video he looked pretty strong and fairly athletic (HS football player and all). Impressive numbers albeit in community college, but he was a division 1 recruit before that so he's pretty intriguing to me. 

     

  • KingKongvsGodzilla 2 days 23 hours ago (view)

    AZPhil, thank you for these updates! It's a nice little pick me up during this dumb year. If you have anything to say on Yohendrick Pinango, Joel Machado, Rafael Morel, or Richard Gallardo, I would love to hear it! Thanks again!

     

  • crunch 3 days 9 hours ago (view)

    jim hickey new nats pitching coach.

     

  • bradsbeard 4 days 3 hours ago (view)

    Several non-prospects ate up spots as well. Ultimately wish they had given a few more Rivas types a shot there. 

     

  • tim815 4 days 4 hours ago (view)

    Only 60 spots in SB. Others benefited more from the time.

     

  • crunch 4 days 7 hours ago (view)

    not phil, but i think everyone is holding off on his potential ceiling until he gains enough weight to not look like someone you want to buy a sandwich every time you see him.

    big upside if his skills can strengthen as he builds his body.

    too early for a solid comp, but i wouldn't feel uncomfortable throwing ian happ's name around (bit better arm than happ, though).

     

  • bradsbeard 4 days 8 hours ago (view)

    Me too. Thought it was weird he wasn't in South Bend at all. 

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 4 days 13 hours ago (view)

    I am very, very intrigued by Rivas. If the DH is unfortunately here to stay, he's a prime candidate for that and give Rizzo a day off 1B here and there. If no DH, hopefully he is a passable OF. Big believer in his hitting ability

     

  • Hagsag 4 days 16 hours ago (view)

    Phil, do you think Chris Morel is the real deal?

     

  • tim815 5 days 5 hours ago (view)

    http://www.milb.com/roster/index.jsp?cid=609&sid=milb

    Blue and Red DSL instructs rosters. No Brayan Altuve.

    http://www.milb.com/roster/index.jsp?cid=2270&sid=...

     

  • crunch 5 days 8 hours ago (view)

    yup, they're gonna try.  starts in about a month.