Tazawa had a strong spring for Chicago, striking out nine in just 5 2/3 IP while not allowing a run. The 32-year-old was fighting for the last spot in the Cubs pen, but was on the heels of back-to-back dreadful campaigns in 2017 and ’18.
Tazawa was excellent in a four-year stretch for the Red Sox from 2012-15, distancing himself from walks and homers while keeping hitters at bay with his trademark splitter. A velocity drop in 2016 spelled doom, though, as the righty soon found himself frequent prey for power hitters across both leagues. A two-year, $12MM deal with Miami prior to the 2017 season was a disaster – the Marlins dumped the righty in mid-May after he allowed six homers in just twenty low-leverage innings.
The excellent spring numbers, if perhaps indicative of a return to form, should help the veteran righty latch on somewhere. It’s a bit of a surprise he couldn’t crack the in-flux Cubs ’pen, though perhaps the velocity and secondary stuff simply continue to languish.