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Cubs release Junichi Tazawa

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“Junichi Tazawa,” the old man said while staring off into the middle distance while taking a drag off his cigarette. “That’s a name I haven’t heard in a long, long time.”

I don’t think I even knew he was with the Chicago Cubs — pitching in Iowa — but he was. And now he’s not because the Cubs released him. They had signed him to a minor league contract at the end of spring training and he went on to post a 4.00 ERA and a 17/6 K/BB ratio in 18 innings at Triple-A.

Tazawa last pitched in the bigs last season, allowing 20 earned runs in 20 innings and 12.6 hits per nine innings in 22 appearances for Miami before being released. Late in the season he made eight far better appearances for the Angels while playing out the end of a two-year, $12 million deal he signed with the Marlins before the 2017 season.

Whether he has anything left in the tank is an open question, but given how bad everyone’s bullpen seems to be today it would not be at all shocking to see him latch on someplace, even if it’s only on another minor league deal.

Angels claim pitcher Jacob Rhame off waivers from Mets

Jacob Rhame waivers
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The Angels announced on Wednesday that the club claimed reliever Jacob Rhame off waivers from the Mets.

Rhame, 27, was limited to 6 1/3 innings in the majors and 20 2/3 innings in the minors last season due to an elbow issue. He underwent ulnar nerve transposition surgery in mid-August.

Though Rhame has a career 6.23 ERA in the big leagues, he showed promise at Triple-A from 2016-18, averaging better than 10 strikeouts per nine innings in all three years. The Angels are taking a flier on the right-hander to see if he can translate that success to the majors.