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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  • Wrigley Rat 4 min 50 sec ago (view)

    3 dots on this evening's Cubs-Dodgers game - makes sense & they do color in the 3rd dot as they're going to commericals (Spectrum Sportsnet).

     

  • crunch 2 hours 17 min ago (view)

    3 dot crew represent.  i didn't have an opinion, but now i'm 100% on board.

     

  • Charlie 2 hours 25 min ago (view)

    I agree on most of this, but I especially support three fillable dots for the outs--and fill in the third before cutting to a commercial!

    Not doing homework on the players in a Spring Training broadcast is pretty forgiveable, but ESPN is really bad about it pretty much all year. It would be nice if they made a habit of picking up a local color commentator and sort of interviewing them throughout games.

     

  • George Altman 6 hours 28 min ago (view)

    The single thing I want in a sports broadcast is to become smarter about the sport,  to learn something from the broadcast crew.

    Stone does that, Romo does that, Eddie O on hockey, and that's about it. I watch sporting events with the sound down very low or off. I forgot more about baseball than most broadcasters will ever know, and I'm always shocked when I see something in a football game that the crew doesn't,  and I know about NOTHING about football. 

     

  • First.Pitch.120 8 hours 48 min ago (view)

    Also... what is with only having 2 dots as the outs counter? I know that you don't really need the 3rd dot, but I find it counter-intuitive. If the dots fill in, then only having 2 throws me off b/c it's natural to subitize "3" associated with outs. You quickly see 0/3, 1/3, 2/3.  If the graphic does not have fill-in dots, then just put the #.  eg - OUTS: 1  It's minimalism for the sake of minimalism, not graphic design for effective communication.

     

  • crunch 9 hours 19 min ago (view)

    tight shots + insane amount of screen real estate being taken up with graphics is a bit of a plague...especially the ones with a non-stop bottom news ticker.

     

  • First.Pitch.120 9 hours 41 min ago (view)

    General comment on baseball broadcasting... I think that the color comentator (CC) needs to talk about 30% more & the PBP about 30% less. I would love a more stream of consciousness from the CC outlining what they would be looking for in a given situation. To that end, why not have 2 CC for national broadcasts - one a pitcher & one a position player. Would love for them to banter back & forth on micro strategy from their perspectives. I think this would turn the game's pauses between action into more of an asset.

     

  • crunch 11 hours 5 min ago (view)

    brews sign j.bradley 2/24m...decent deal for a quality CF'r.  he can opt out of the 2nd year.

     

  • crunch 11 hours 45 min ago (view)

    the national broadcasts on ESPN suffer badly from a lack of "homework" on the teams they're covering.

    yesterday i heard more riffing between the announcers about each other more than the players.  the only thing that saved them from more of that and dead air was in-progress action and player interviews (too many player interviews, but it's spring so whatever).

     

  • Hagsag 14 hours 21 min ago (view)

    Not impressed with ESPN's broadcast. I like Mendoza's work, but how many kids did we have to see rolling around the grass. Good day to see some young players ,but half the time you had no idea who was batting or pitching.

     

  • crunch 23 hours 13 min ago (view)

    cubs game totally not a delay broadcast for ESPN...thanks for that gem heyward.

    dunno if they'll be printing up any "You better have your shit in line" t-shirts, but it's as least as good as "Try not to suck"

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    Jason Adam is another who throws short arm. I don't think he was a position player, but maybe falls into the arm injury category?

     

  • Sonicwind75 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    Thanks Phil, these pitching summaries are great!

     

  • Eric S 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    Thanks, AZ Phil.  Looks like a better use of the off-season by Maples than Carl Jr's hop-in-delivery was a few years ago - and not against the rules either. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    Even though he is signed to a minor lesague contract and is not on the MLB 40-man roster right now, I would think Eric Sogard is a virtual lock to make the Cubs Opening Day Active List 26-man roster. 

    The Cubs were reportedly looking to sign a left-handed hitting second-baseman, and Sogard certainly fits that description. And unlike Jason Kipnis, Sogard has the versatility to play 3B and SS as well as 2B. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    ERIC: Just as you said, the short-arm technique can improve command, hopefully without impacting the quality of a pitcher's stuff.

    Based on what I saw yesterday, Maples' stuff is as good as ever, and his command was better, too. Hopefully it will continue, because he probably has the best pure stuff on the staff. Command has always been the problem.