The Cubs released Rea on Monday, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. Rea previously signed a one-year, $702,500 deal with the Cubs in December to avoid arbitration, but he asked the team to terminate his contract just weeks later so that he could pursue opportunities in Japan, according to Bastian. The 30-year-old right-hander should get a decent pay raise if he heads to Japan, where he'll also likely get the opportunity to serve as a frontline starter in Nippon Professional Baseball. Rea worked as a swingman for the Cubs in 2020, making nine appearances (two starts) and finishing with a 5.79 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and a 10:2 K:BB over 14 innings.
Rea agreed to a one-year deal with the Cubs on Wednesday, avoiding arbitration, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. Chicago needs rotation depth, as three of its starters from last season are hitting the open market this winter, and Rea could compete for a spot in spring training. The 30-year-old righty has a career 4.79 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 116 strikeouts in 148.1 career innings, working primarily as a starter.
Rea was optioned to the Cubs' alternate training site Thursday, Maddie Lee of NBC Sports Chicago reports. Rea was recently demoted to the bullpen after Adbert Alzolay was named the starter for Thursday's contest. However, he'll now report to South Bend. It appears as though the Cubs will continue to use Alzolay in their rotation while Jose Quintana (lat) and Tyler Chatwood (forearm) remain sidelined, though Rea will be one of the Cubs' top options to fill in if further injuries occur to their pitching staff.
Rea is expected to return to the bullpen this week with the Cubs listing Adbert Alzolay as their starting pitcher for Thursday's game against the Reds, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. With both Jose Quintana (lat) and Tyler Chatwood (forearm) on the injured list, the Cubs added fifth and sixth starters to their rotation for Saturday's doubleheader with the Cardinals. Both Alzolay and Rea received nods, and while neither impressed, the Cubs seemingly have faith that the young right-hander can provide them with more than the 2.2 innings he offered in the first game of Saturday's twin bill. Rea, meanwhile, started the second game, giving up four runs on five hits and two walks in two innings before being pulled from the contest.
Rea (1-1) allowed four runs on five hits across two innings to take the loss in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader against the Cardinals. He walked two and struck out three. Rea pitched a scoreless first inning but things went downhill quickly from there. He allowed two home runs in the second, then started the third by allowing three straight singles before getting the hook. Rea's ERA climbed to 5.79 in the process. The righty is likely to return to the bullpen at some point, but with both Jose Quintana (lat) and Tyler Chatwood (forearm) currently on the shelf, Rea remains an option to make some spot starts.
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