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Reports: Cubs ink veteran arms Kontos, Tazawa

Relievers add depth heading into Spring Training
January 26, 2019

CHICAGO -- The Cubs continue to work on stockpiling experienced depth behind their big league pitching staff.According to a report by Bruce Levine of 670 The Score, the Cubs have agreed to a Minor League contract with veteran reliever George Kontos, who will receive an invitation to attend Major League

CHICAGO -- The Cubs continue to work on stockpiling experienced depth behind their big league pitching staff.
According to a report by Bruce Levine of 670 The Score, the Cubs have agreed to a Minor League contract with veteran reliever George Kontos, who will receive an invitation to attend Major League Spring Training. Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune also reported Chicago reached a similar Minor League agreement with righty Junichi Tazawa.
Both Kontos and Tazawa would add to the growing list of names jockeying for bullpen jobs with the Cubs, who also reached agreement on a one-year MLB contract with free-agent Brad Brach on Thursday (pending a physical). The Cubs have not confirmed any of the deals.

As things currently stand, Brach projects to be in the bullpen alongside Pedro Strop, Steve Cishek, Mike Montgomery, Carl Edwards Jr., Brian Duensing, Brandon Kintzler and Tyler Chatwood. Randy Rosario, Kyle Ryan, Rowan Wick and Dillon Maples, among others, will also be in camp this spring vying for spots.
Closer Brandon Morrow is expected to miss at least a couple weeks to start the season, as he works his way back from right elbow surgery.
The 33-year-old Kontos -- who attended Niles West High School (Skokie, Ill.) and Northwestern University -- split time between the Pirates, Indians and Yankees in 2018. In 28 games last season, the righty posted a 4.39 ERA with 15 strikeouts against seven walks in 26 2/3 innings. Over the '12-16 campaigns, Kontos turned in a 2.90 ERA in 250 appearances with the Giants.

Tazawa, 32, was originally signed by the Red Sox in 2008, when Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was leading Boston's front office. The right-hander posted a 7.07 ERA in 31 games with the Marlins and Angels last season and has a 6.16 ERA in 86 games over the past two seasons combined. From 2009-16, Tazawa had a 3.58 ERA in 302 games for the Red Sox.
While the Cubs have yet to announce their list of non-roster invitees for Spring Training, the team has also reportedly inked Minor League deals with pitcher Rob Scahill, catcher Francisco Arcia, outfielder Jim Adduci and infielder Phillip Evans, per various reports throughout this offseason. Cubs pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Spring Training on Feb. 12, with the first workout slated for the following day.

Jordan Bastian covers the Cubs for MLB.com. He previously covered the Indians from 2011-18 and the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.