Results tagged ‘ Kyuji Fujikawa ’

12/7 Cubs welcome Fujikawa

The Cubs officially introduced new reliever Kyuji Fujikawa on Friday at Wrigley Field. The Japanese right-hander, who played for the Hanshin Tigers, agreed to a two-year, $9.5 million contract. The deal includes a signing bonus of $1 million and $4 million in salaries in 2013 and ’14. There also is a vesting option valued at $5.5 million or $6 million, to be determined by games finished.

He visited Chicago and Wrigley Field a few weeks ago, and was sold on the city and the ballpark then.

“From that day on, in my head, it was ‘Cubs, Cubs, Cubs,’ and that’s how everything came through,” Fujikawa said.

The right-hander, who totaled 220 saves in 12 seasons with Hanshin, will be used to set-up closer Carlos Marmol, not take his place.

“Our goal is to have the best bullpen possible,” GM Jed Hoyer said. “Kyuji certainly adds to that. He’s had a great career. If you look at his career, he was a dominant set-up guy first and a dominant closer. We know he can do both roles. We look at it as adding a great arm and we don’t worry about the role.”

Fujikawa wasn’t too concerned when he would be pitching.

“[He wanted] a chance to have a meaningful role and do his job,” Theo Epstein said of Fujikawa. “That’s all he said. He said, ‘My job is not closer or set-up guy, my job is to help the team win and do what the manager asks of me’ and that’s the only time it came up in the discussion.”

There’s a reason he picked No. 11.

“I was No. 22 with the Hanshin Tigers,” Fujikawa said, “but to have a better career than No. 22, I went younger with No. 11. I asked for 11 and it was luckily open.”

He may want to feel young but the Cubs are hoping Fujikawa can stabilize the young bullpen. They also really like his stuff.

“The biggest thing was his ability to pitch with his fastball,” Hoyer said. “He’s not a guy who tricks you, he comes right after guys. … Guys who rely too much on trickery can be guys who the league figures out quickly. Our hope is that because he pitches with his fastball, he can pitch to a game plan and establish himself and have a nice run.”

– Carrie Muskat

12/3 Winter meetings Day 2

* Teams are inquiring about Alfonso Soriano, and how much the Cubs might be willing to pay. Soriano is owed $38 million over the next two years. Theo Epstein wouldn’t comment on the rumors out of respect to Soriano.

“One of the things that comes with being a veteran is obviously, there’s going to be speculation, but veteran players appreciate when clubs don’t sort of fuel those fires,” Epstein said Monday in Nashville. “It’s the Winter Meetings and there will be lots of rumors, but they don’t need to come from the club. We really value what he’s done here and we’ve been open with him about the fact that ‘Hey, we’ll listen, and if there’s something that makes sense for everyone, we’ll come to you.”

* The Cubs are in the market for a right fielder. Epstein says they have been “really active” meeting with teams about possible trades and also were keeping an eye on the free agent outfielders available. One thing Epstein hasn’t had to worry about is selling a free agent on the possibility of playing in Chicago.

“Dale [Sveum] is making a name for himself as a manager,” Epstein said. “Players recognize we had a good clubhouse last year despite a difficult season. Free agents believe in the positive direction we’re going. Elite baseball players are really competitive and I think they like the thought of being part of the solution here and being a member of the team that finally wins a World Series with the Cubs. I’ve had a number of players tell that to me directly. We have not had to sell our situation much at all. Players, when we express interest, we’re hearing back, ‘Oh, that’s a place we’ve had our eye on.’ You don’t hear that often after a 101-loss season.”

* One free agent whom the Cubs were expected to add to the mix is Japanese pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa, who has reportedly agreed to a two-year, $9.5 million contract. Fujikawa needs to pass a physical before the deal can be completed, which could happen next week.

* Expect the Cubs to add a player on Thursday during the Rule 5 Draft. Chicago has the second pick overall, and Epstein said they have been checking the names available as well as getting interest from other teams trying to acquire their spot in the order.

– Carrie Muskat

12/2 Day 1 at Nashville

Early arriving scouts at the Gaylord Opryland resort, gathering for baseball’s Winter Meetings, have the same questions as Cubs fans. Has the team signed free agent pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa or not?
The Cubs continue to keep quiet about Fujikawa, who they have reportedly inked to a two-year, $9.5 million contract. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network reported the deal on Saturday, saying Fujikawa would receive a signing bonus of $1 million and $4 million in salaries in 2013 and ’14. There also was a vesting option valued at $5.5 million or $6 million, to be determined by games finished. Cubs officials would neither confirm nor comment on the report.

Japanese media in Nashville for the Winter Meetings also were curious and had not heard anything further about Fujikawa, but did speculate the right-hander may be headed back to the U.S. A large contingent of Japanese media lingered in the lobby at the hotel to try to get a comment from Hoyer. There was a report that all that was needed was for Fujikawa to take a physical before the deal was finalized. We’ll keep you posted.

– Carrie Muskat

12/1 Report: Cubs sign Fujikawa

The Cubs have reportedly signed Japanese free agent pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa to a two-year, $9.5 million contract, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal on Saturday. The Cubs would not confirm or comment on the report except to say nothing is imminent.

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.

According to Rosenthal, the right-hander will receive a signing bonus of $1 million and $4 million in salaries in 2013 and ’14. There is a vesting option valued at $5.5 million or $6 million, to be determined by games finished.

On Friday, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer did confirm that he met with Fujikawa about 10 days ago and that the Japanese pitcher toured Wrigley Field. Hoyer said they were “very impressed” by the right-hander but would not comment on a time-table or the negotiations.

The Cubs did re-sign set-up pitcher Shawn Camp but otherwise have not made any additions to the bullpen.

“If we bring in someone who has closing experience, or a number of guys who have closing experience, that’s no knock on Carlos [Marmol],” Hoyer said of the Cubs current closer. “I think every team in baseball wants to have an assortment of guys back there who, if the need arises, can pitch in the ninth inning. Hopefully we can do that.”

The Angels, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Orioles also were believed to be interested in Fujikawa.

Last month, the Cubs were close to completing a deal with the Angels which would’ve sent Marmol to Anaheim for starter Dan Haren. The Cubs pulled that trade off the table because of concerns over Haren’s medical reports.

– Carrie Muskat

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