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Cubs release RHP Colin Rea

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He’s apparently heading to Japan’s NPB.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

A bit under the radar, the Cubs released righthander Colin Rea Monday:

Rea made nine appearances (two starts) for the Cubs in 2020, his first MLB time since 2016 as he fought his way back from various injuries. He posted a 5.79 ERA and 1.214 WHIP and was, as noted by Jordan Bastian, expected to help provide some rotation depth for the team this year.

Rea turns 31 in July. He wasn’t likely to be more than “depth” for a team that still expects to contend for a division title in 2021.

I wish Rea luck in his effort to join a team in Japan’s Nippon Pro Baseball league. Other pitchers have gone to Japan and managed to return to MLB eventually, so this might not be the end of his MLB career.

Rea was on the Cubs’ 40-man roster, so this release means there are 36 players on the 40-man, certainly room for the Cubs to make several additions before spring training — whenever that begins.