As first reported by Jon Heyman, the Cubs have re-signed righty reliever Junichi Tazawa to a minor league deal. The Tribune’s Mark Gonzales confirmed the report, adding that Tazawa will remain in Mesa at extended spring training and will earn $900,000 if he is called up to the majors.
Confirming report by @JonHeyman that Junichi Tazawa has re-signed with Cubs, this time on minor league deal. will start in extended spring training. $900,000 if makes majors.
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) March 26, 2019
The Cubs released Tazawa last week, likely in a procedural move to keep a roster spot open and avoid paying him a $100,000 retention bonus. Though the veteran had pitched well and looked like he had a shot to break camp with the team, the Cubs have said they prefer to have another lefty in ‘pen for now. If Tazawa can prove that his spring performance was not just a small-sample fluke, he might well earn that MLB deal.
As USA Today’s Bob Nightengale subsequently reported, Tazawa’s new deal includes up to $350,000 in performance bonuses that could bring his total salary to $1.25 million. He also has opt-outs on May 15 and August 15 that allow him to elect free agency if he’s not called up by then. So he’d better hope Sinclair has sold some Marquee Network carriage by then.