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Cubs ink Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa to two-year, $9.5 million deal

Dec 1, 2012, 4:59 PM EDT

Kyuji Fujikawa Getty Images

UPDATE: Rosenthal reports that Fujikawa is guaranteed $9.5 million as part of his deal with the Cubs. That’s a pretty nice chunk of change for a rebuilding team to give to a closer, especially one who has never pitched in the United States, but the Cubs are obviously confident he can make an impact in the late innings.

Fujikama will receive a $1 million signing bonus and salaries of $4 million for 2013 and 2014. The vesting option for 2015 is worth $5.5 million and could increase to $6 million based on games finished. If the option doesn’t vest, the Cubs hold a $5.5 million club option that can be bought out for $500,000.

4:50 PM: We heard last night that the Angels were considered the front-runners to land Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa. But it turns out he’ll be headed elsewhere.

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs have an agreement in place with Fujikawa. No word yet on the terms involved, but Rosenthal hears that the 32-year-old right-hander will get a two-year deal with a vesting option for a third.

Fujikawa is coming off a dominant run in Japan in which he posted a 1.36 ERA and 202 saves over the past six seasons with the Hanshin Tigers. Armed with a low-90s fastball, a slider and a forkball, he had a 1.32 ERA and 58/15 K/BB ratio over 47 2/3 innings this past season.

Rosenthal notes that Fujikawa will likely be used as the Cubs’ closer, so Carlos Marmol figures to be on the trade block in the coming days and weeks. The 30-year-old right-hander is owed $9.8 million next season and is due to hit free agency next offseason. He was nearly traded to the Angels last month for Dan Haren, but the deal reportedly fell apart due to concerns over Haren’s medicals.

  1. boyofzimmer - Dec 1, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Excellent, my doctor told me watching Marmol close was hazardous to my health.

  2. iamjimmyjack - Dec 1, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Apparently winning isn’t important to this guy. Too bad for him. He had a legit chance with the angels at winning a ws and closing with Madson coming back from TJ.

    • paperlions - Dec 1, 2012 at 6:01 PM

      Really? What makes anyone think the Angels have a good shot at the WS next year? Right now their #3-5 starters are Richards (who wasn’t any good last year), Hanson (whose shoulder is shot due to poor mechanics), and Jerome (ouch). That is not a good rotation. The offense looks worse than it was last year: Trout really has no room for improvement, pitchers remembered that they didn’t have to throw Trumbo strikes, Hunter is gone (he was their 3rd best offensive player last year), Pujols is in the midst of a 4 year slide and is not only very good….so, the offense isn’t going to be any better….and the starting pitching isn’t likely to be any better either.

      • paperlions - Dec 1, 2012 at 6:02 PM

        * “now only very good”, not “not only very good”

      • cltjump - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:13 PM

        Honestly, as a Braves fan all this talk of how they’re underrating Hanson makes me sick. The guy was just atrocious last year. Any time you saw him scheduled for a start in the last few months of the season, you pencilled in an L without thinking. It was to the point of hopelessness.

    • 78mu - Dec 1, 2012 at 9:12 PM

      Hey, the Angels haven’t won a WS since ’02. The Cubs won in ’07 and ’08. Fujikawa heard Tinkers to Evers to Chance is a pretty good infield to have playing behind him

    • cosanostra71 - Dec 1, 2012 at 9:52 PM

      We didn’t even make the playoffs this year. Let’s focus on winning the division and making it to the postseason next year before we proclaim ourselves offseason World Series champs again.

      That said, I am disappointed we didn’t get Fujikawa.

  3. hcf95688 - Dec 1, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    Cubs huh? OK. I’ll call it now: HUGE BUST!

    • hcf95689 - Dec 1, 2012 at 6:37 PM

      Cubs huh? OK. I’ll call it now: HUGE BUST!

      • tuberippin - Dec 1, 2012 at 8:44 PM

        I really, really hope you didn’t make a second account just to reply to your original stupid post with the same exact stupid post as the reply. If so, please get off the internet and find a hobby.

      • hcf95688 - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:51 AM

        No, tuberippin, of course I didn’t. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I find this to be pretty weird.

  4. iamjimmyjack - Dec 1, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    Paperlions use ur brain. U can’t really believe the things ur typing can u? Typical cubs fan….”wait til next year” is ur motto.

    • socal2234 - Dec 1, 2012 at 7:45 PM

      jimmy jack definition:

      v. The act of forcibly and swiftly relieving another person of his/her belongings.
      v. The act of sexually assaulting someone’s anus.

      Soooooo, which one is it?

      • joegolfer - Dec 2, 2012 at 3:57 AM

        If it’s the second, then hopefully iamjimmyjack is pitching and socal2234 is catching, so to speak.
        That sounds about right.

    • paperlions - Dec 1, 2012 at 7:50 PM

      First, I’m not a Cubs fan.

      Second, feel free to fire off a few synapses and refute anything I said. The Angels, as currently constructed, are a worse team than they were last year. They are more likely to finish 2nd to last in the West (saved only by the Astros) than they are to make the playoffs.

      • cltjump - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:16 PM

        “siznaps? u r not making ny sense dood”

  5. boyofzimmer - Dec 1, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    Holy ‘kawa!

  6. buffalo65 - Dec 2, 2012 at 7:26 AM

    Angels are in a tailspin. Poorly spent money on aging players….see ARod. Fat Albert is next.

  7. illcomm - Dec 2, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    papperlions. your initial comment was 100% spot on. angles have a huge payroll and are only getting worse. the Albert contract will continue to haunt them for years. thirty pitching is on a downward spiral.

  8. sfm073 - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    Lol yeah the guy is traveling halfway around the world and you expect winning to be is biggest concern.

  9. jkaflagg - Dec 2, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Fujikawa probably found out about the Angels history of ruining veteran relief pitchers…..

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