Cubs sign veteran relievers RHP George Kontos and RHP Junichi Tazawa to minor league contracts
According to reports from Bruce Levine and Mark Gonzales, the front office has added two relievers to the mix as Spring Training quickly approaches. The Cubs have signed RHP George Kontos and RHP Junichi Tazawa to minor league contracts. Levine reported the deal with Kontos includes a non-roster invite to big league camp. It would be safe to presume Tazawa also received a NRI to Spring Training as part of his deal.
Kontos, 33, pitched for three teams last season, the Pirates, Indians and Yankees. Kontos was 2-3 with a 5.03 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. Kontos had several good years pitching out of Bruce Bochy’s pen in San Francisco (2012-17) prior to struggling in 21 appearances for Pittsburgh last year. Kontos pitched in only 28 games a year ago. And according Levine, Kontos’ velocity has picked up while rehabbing this off-season.
The Cubs’ front office has a history with Tazawa. The 33-year old reliever broke into the majors with the Red Sox in 2009 and had several excellent years in Boston. Tazawa struggled with the Marlins in 2017 and parts of 2018 (4-6 in 77 games with a 6.57 ERA and 1.56 WHIP) Tazawa pitched in nine games for the Angels a year ago and was 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.25 WHIP.
The front office must continue to add options for the bullpen, even on minor league deals, with Spring Training just around the corner.