We’re still awaiting official word from Theo and Jed, but everyone is reporting that the Cubs have signed Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa to a two-year contract.
The Japanese closer is on the verge of signing with the Cubs, as multiple reports on Saturday said he’s agreed to a two-year deal worth $9.5 million. Fox Sports reported the deal contains a vesting option for 2015 based on games finished – $5.5 million or $6 million – as well as a $5.5 million club option if it doesn’t vest.
The Cubs declined to comment, but they also didn’t deny that there was a lot of momentum heading in this direction. General manager Jed Hoyer confirmed on Friday that the Cubs had recently met with Fujikawa and came away impressed.
We all know the Japanese League isn’t MLB, but Fujikawa has amassed some impressive numbers in his career.
Fujikawa, 32, played 12 seasons with the Hanshin Tigers, totaling 220 saves, and a 1.77 ERA. Last season, he appeared in 47 2/3 innings and compiled a 1.32 ERA. He was sidelined with an adductor strain and has not thrown 70 innings in a single season since 2007.
A closer with durability issues. Could this mean the Cubs will hold on to Carlos Marmol, just in case?
“Whenever you build a bullpen, you want as many guys that have a chance to pitch late in the game as possible,” Hoyer said. “Carlos had a great second half (1.52 ERA). He struggled in April. He lost the job and to his credit he worked really hard to get it back and pitched really well. If we bring in someone that has closing experience – or a number of guys that have that kind of experience – that’s no knock on Carlos.“Every team in baseball wants to have an assortment of guys back there that – if the need arises – can pitch in the ninth inning. Hopefully, we can do that. Our bullpen put too much pressure last year on (Shawn) Camp and Russell and Marmol and we have to avoid that. We need to bring in a really good number of arms to make that goal a reality.”