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.
Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said pitcher Carlos Martínez will work out of the bullpen when he returns from the injured list, The Athletic’s Mark Saxon reports. Shildt noted that the decision is based on Martínez’s needs rather than the team’s needs, which suggests he may not yet have the strength to pitch as a starter.
Martínez, 27, opened the season on the injured list due to a right rotator cuff strain. The right-hander was also injured last year, battling lat and oblique injuries. He will go to extended spring training and likely begin a minor league rehab assignment next week. Based on that time frame, Martínez should be activated around mid-May.
Last year, Martínez made 18 starts and 15 relief appearances, posting a 3.11 ERA with five saves and a 117/60 K/BB ratio across 118 2/3 innings. It is unclear what role(s) Martínez will have in the bullpen, but he could eventually help set up for closer Jordan Hicks.