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.