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 23 min 54 sec ago (view)

    last thing i wanna hear about a dude who throws 85-88mph is "shoulder issues"

     

  • crunch 31 min 54 sec ago (view)

    schwarber / bryant / rizzo / baez / heyward(CF) / caratini / cargo(RF) / darvish / russell

     

  • Eric S 31 min 55 sec ago (view)

    Was that before or after Hendricks going on the 10 day IL with right shoulder inflammation?

     

  • crunch 33 min 24 sec ago (view)

    k.hendricks to the 10-day IL with "right shoulder inflamation"

    maaaaaaaaaaaaaaan...

    rowan wick up because whatever.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 hour 44 min ago (view)

    Because they never play more than four days in a row, AZL Cubs #1 and AZL Cubs #2 will only need four SP each. 

    The pitchers at AZL mini-camp who are (right now) stretched-out to start are Brendon Little (rehab), Carlos Ocampo, Jose Miguel Gonzalez, Chi-Feng Lee, Misael Garcia, Richard Gallardo, and Luis Ramos, and Keegan Thompson may be ready for an AZL SP rehab assignment soon. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 hour 50 min ago (view)

    The Cubs are down to five catchers at AZL mini-camp (draft picks Ethan Hearn, Wyatt Hendrie, and Jake Washer have not yet officially signed), so Mesa Rehab Coach (and ex-minor league catcher) Tyler Pearson has been taking on some extra duties, catching bullpen side-sessions and warming up pitchers in the pen. (He caught Craig Kimbrel the other day). 

    So I would not be surprised if the Cubs sign a NDFA college senior catcher or acquire an experienced catcher from indy ball to help out. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 hours 22 sec ago (view)

    Not counting 2019 draft picks and rehabbers, the Cubs top prospect in the AZL this season is SS Luis Verdugo (he's one of the Cubs Top 10 position player prospects).  

    Verdugo was supposed to go to Eugene with 2B Reivaj Garcia this past week, but was left behind at Mesa when SS Dixon Machado was reinstated from the Iowa IL last Tuesday and SS Luis Vazquez (who had been playing SS at Iowa) needed to go somewhere where he could play SS every day. (Vazquez was assigned to Eugene).

     

  • Craig A. 2 hours 21 min ago (view)

    Bring him up!

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 hours 34 min ago (view)

    HAGSAG: As far as I know he's still with the Cubs. 

     

  • Hagsag 2 hours 38 min ago (view)

    Phil, has Jim Benedict left the Cubs Organization? Thanks.

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 hours 46 min ago (view)

    Several of the younger pitchers and position-players who were at Extended Spring Training but who were not in contention for Eugene Opening Day roster slots went home for about ten days between the end of the EXST Cactus League season (6/1) and the start of AZL mini-camp this past Tuesday (6/11). 

     

  • crunch 2 hours 50 min ago (view)

    incredible waste of money, honestly.

    you can get almost 2 weeks of chatwood for that kinda loot.  CHATWOOD!!!

     

  • tim815 3 hours 49 min ago (view)

    19 for 1

    I like those odds.

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 hours 51 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have signed 19 J-2 IFA since acquiring $750K in International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) space from the Orioles in the April deal where the Cubs agreed not to re-claim RHRP Pedro Araujo (selected by BAL in the Major League Phase of the December 2017 Rule 5 Draft). 

    There were no big name prospects among the 19 J-2 IFA who were signed, but the average signing bonus (presuming the entire $750K in ISBP space was used) is about $40,000.  

     

  • tim815 11 hours 1 min ago (view)

    Reivaj Garcia apparently pronounces his name RAY-vuh.

     

  • Mike Wellman 11 hours 47 min ago (view)

    AA: 6IP; 0BBs; 9Ks...See the USA in your Alzolay; All the way w/ Alzolay; Lay Lazy Lay; My name is Bert and I’m an Alzoholic...