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Old Friend Tyler Chatwood Headed to Japan

Chicago Cubs

As with his time on the Rockies, Tyler Chatwood periodically showed flashes of dominance with the Cubs and then with the Blue Jays. Remember how good he looked out of the bullpen in the second half of 2019 with the Cubs? And in the rotation to start the year in 2020? And in the bullpen in Toronto early on in 2021?

The problem, of course, is that the flashes were always brief. Chatwood has the stuff to be a dominant pitcher, but he could never command it consistently. His complex mechanics and nasty movement made for a guy who could be really tough on hitters, but it also made him a guy susceptible to bad mistakes on the zone and elevated walk rates.

Chatwood, now 32, wound up being DFA’d by the Blue Jays at midseason, and briefly appeared with the Giants after that for a short and unsuccessful stint in August. It just hasn’t been a great stretch for him overall.

So, given the last few years, it makes sense that he’s now heading to Japan, per Sports Hochi (via MLBTR). Chatwood is joining the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, and maybe the slight difference in baseball and batting styles in the NPB will help him rebound. He’ll actually have a familiar face there, as his 2020 teammate Colin Rea is also signing with the Hawks.

It’s interesting to see what seems like a bit more guys heading over to Japan and South Korea this offseason, rather than waiting out the lockout and risking not getting a job at all (maybe not even a quality minor league deal). It makes sense to take the bird in hand for a lot of these guys, and it’s also a reminder of what the crunch could look like in February(?).



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.