Despite logging a 7.78 career ERA and 1.808 career WHIP with five different clubs — spanning six seasons since his debut with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007 — southpaw reliever Mike Zagurski has secured a contract for the 2019 season.
Zagurski, who will turn 36 next month, was recently signed by the Chicago Cubs to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, according to Jerry Crasnick.
Zagurski has appeared in just two games since 2013, both with the Milwaukee Brewers this past season, when against 10 faced batters, he allowed seven runs on five hits and two walks while retiring just three batters.
In between his 2013 and 2018 big-league stints, Zagurski played two years with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan. It is rare for a player to return to majors once making the decision to play overseas, but Zagurski's career has seemed to resemble anything but the norm.
What seems to be extending Zagurski's career is his high strikeout rate. The Omaha, Nebraska, native recorded 66 strikeouts in 45 innings with the Brewers' Triple-A affiliate in 2018, which followed 43 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings combined between the Detroit Tigers' Double-A and Triple-A affiliates the season prior.
In 37 games with the Phillies in 2007 and 2010-11, Zagurski punched out 36 batters in 31 2/3 innings, but posted a 6.82 ERA and 1.768 WHIP. The club dealt him to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sept. 23, 2011, for a minor-league player named that November to be relief pitcher RHP Adam Worthington. Worthington never played in the Phillies' system, nor in any other Major League organization's again in his career.