The Cincinnati Reds have added veteran right-handed pitcher Junichi Tazawa on a minor-league contract, according to C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic. He’ll be sent to Double-A Chattanooga and will be added to the minor-league injured list.
The 33-year-old Tazawa has yet to appear in a Major League game in 2019, with his only affiliated action coming in a brief stint with the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate before he was released in July. In 19 games, he worked to an even 4.00 ERA, striking out 17 batters in 18 innings of work. He last appeared in the Majors with the Angels in 2018.
Needless to say, the veteran is far removed from his stellar years in Boston, which earned him a hefty two-year contract in Miami, an ill-advised move in hindsight. During that Marlins stint and most recently with the Angels, Tazawa’s velocity declined markedly from his peak years, bottoming out at 91.9 mph in September of 2018.
At 33, Tazawa will have a chance to revitalize his career and crack a Major League bullpen. A reasonably strong performance in Triple-A suggests that there’s something left in the tank, but Tazawa will need to output sustained success in the Reds’ system before getting another chance in the big leagues.