The Cubs released right-handed pitcher Colin Rea on Monday. He left to pursue an opportunity in Japan, NBC Sports Chicago confirmed, further constricting the Cubs’ starting pitching depth. MLB.com was the first to report Rea’s next move.
Rea (1-1, 5.79 ERA) made two spot starts for the Cubs this past season, along with seven relief appearances. It was his first big-league season since tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm in 2016 and undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Only two regular members of the Cubs’ 2020 starting rotation remain on the roster, Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills. The Cubs traded Yu Darvish to the Padres last week. They declined the $25 million option on Jon Lester, although they left the door open to potentially bring him back on a cheaper deal. José Quintana and Tyler Chatwood, whose contributions were stymied by injury, became free agents.
Adbert Alzolay, 25, is expected to slide into the rotation come Spring Training. The Cubs also received right-hander Zach Davies as part of the Darvish trade. But that still leaves at least one rotation spot open.