Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Marlins have signed reliever Junichi Tazawa to a two-year, $12 million contract. Chris Cotillo of SB Nation notes that Tazawa will earn $5 million in 2017 and $7 million in 2018.
Tazawa, 30, has spent the last eight years with the Red Sox, owning a career 3.58 ERA over 298 relief appearances and four starts. The right-hander shined in 2014, finishing with a 2.86 ERA, but struggled to an ERA north of 4.00 in each of the last two campaigns.
The Marlins were reportedly deeply interested in Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, but neither ended up signing in Miami. Tazawa will join the back of the Marlins’ bullpen which includes A.J. Ramos and Kyle Barraclough. The Marlins could continue to add relief help over the course of the winter as well.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.