The Chicago Cubs signed Japanese cloesr Kyuji Fujikawa to a two-year deal on Saturday. The 32-year old Fujikawa, who had been seemingly destined to sign with the Angels, will make $9.5 million over the two years of the deal and has a vesting option for 2015 based on games finished that could turn into a club option if the option doesn't vest. Fujikawa will be serving as the Cubs closer in 2013, seemingly keeping Carlos Marmol on the trade block after he was dangled earlier this offseason in a possible deal to the Angels in exchange for Dan Haren.
Fujikawa spent 2012 with the Hanshin Tigers of the NPB, and had a 1.32 ERA in 47 2/3 innings for Hanshin, striking out 58 and walking 15. Over Fujikawa's last seven seasons in Japan, he's never struck out less than a batter per inning, and his highest ERA in a single season has been 2.01, back in 2010. However, 2012 was the first time during his career that Fujikawa has had a strikeout to walk ratio of less than 4.00 (3.87 last season). Over at NPB Tracker, they think Fujikawa would start off as a middle reliever in America, though it's clear the Cubs don't have that same mindset. His fastball in 2012 typically sat at around 91 mph, while he also threw a splitter and a curveball to varying success.
Fujikawa isn't the same pitcher that he was four years ago when he initially wanted to be posted and jump to America, but he can still be a solid relief arm for the Cubs, especially the cost of essentially one win per season.
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