Cubs agree to terms with Kyuji Fujikawa is starting to roll in again.

The Cubs just boosted their bullpen by signing top Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa according to Ken Rosenthal.  At least 6 teams were vying for his services with the Cubs and Angels being the finalists.

The deal is for 2 years with a vesting option but financial term were not disclosed as of this writing.


Per Ken Rosenthal, the deal is worth 9.2M over 2 years.  The breakdown as follows:

Fujikawa deal with #Cubs: $1M signing bonus, $4M salaries in 2013 and '14, plus vesting option at $5.5M or $6M based on games finished. If Fujikawa option does not vest#Cubs hold $5.5M club option with $500K buyout. A total of $9.5M guaranteed.

Fujikawa, 32, is a power pitcher with a three pitch assortment: mid 90s fastball, slider, forkball.  Over the past six seasons with the Hanshin Tigers, he has posted a 1.36 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 12.4 K/9, and 2.3 BB/9 in 369 2/3 innings.

It sets up an interesting scenario now with the Cubs known to be shopping current closer Carlos Marmol. Most thought Fujikawa had been leaning toward the Angels, but he has expressed a preference to close and that ultimately may have been the ace up the Cubs sleeve.   The salary indicates the Cubs plan on using him as more than just a middle reliever or set-up man.


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  • fb_avatar

    John. Typo alert. He wants to close, not start. Also it is being reported 9.5 mil over 2 years. Also, WOOHOO

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    Yikes. I was too excited. Thanks!

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Do you think this guarantees that Marmol is all but gone John?

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    I do. We'll call it 99%.

  • Very nice pick up! I hope the FO lets him pitch for a starting position this ST.. A little competition never hurts after a100 lost season.

  • What does the Cubs projected 2013 payroll look like now?

  • In reply to OscarBluth5:

    I'd have to sit down and calculate it. Remind me if I forget.

  • I'm loving these signings, especially the contracts. Who knows, maybe the Cubs FO may see the team as potential contenders before 2014 or 2015? Either way, these signings have to give them more trade bait if we stink it up again.

  • In reply to KSCubsFan:

    Gives the Cubs some options. Can keep him, good value if he closes. Could trade him and pick up young players...lot they can do. Great move that will undoubtedly lead to others.

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    This seems like a great deal for the Cubs and Fujikawa. If the closer experiment works, the Cubs can either keep him to do that, or move him to a contender to close. If it doesn't, the Cubs have another bullpen arm during the rebuild and really aren't spending that much on him.

    Fujikawa gets the chance to establish that he can close in the majors and may even get a chance to play for a contender this year.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Great deal for both sides. Fujikawa's salary means he'll almost certainly close and Marmol gets traded. Love the way the Cubs are creating value and will get more young players with this move, both when they trade Marmol and likely later when they trade Fujikawa.

  • I really like this move for the Cubs. I think they will be very busy next week. It should be fun.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    It's crazy. The last 30 minutes have been a blur for me!

    Like this deal as well, more $$ than I expected. Certainly means he will close and we'll likely see Marmol dealt soon.

  • John when are you go to write about Marmol being shopped around? Love this move especially if he does well we can flip him for prospects the added year plus the club option really makes him good chip to have in July!

  • In reply to irish0625:

    Might be tomorrow's article. Seems like a forgone conclusion now that he'll be dealt.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John, I love this signing! Indicates they're not willing to watch 100 losses again.
    But, don't you think this may hurt Marmol's value since now everyone knows the Cubs almost have to trade him?
    I sure would wait for the right deal, real value in return. If they can't get it, let Marmol return to the set-up role he once excelled in.

  • In reply to AdolphoPhillips67:

    Have an article coming later about how Cubs not playing to lose (even though they probably will) and why. I think they're trying to compete and if a few things bounce the right way, who knows?

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Looking forward to this one. And the conversation it will engender.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree with Mike Moody, I can't wait for the article John. The Cubs are being constructed with a LOT of flexibility. Yet there is some talent there, and like you mention a few things hafta go the right way and maybe who knows. But if it don't, cut our losses at the trade deadline and restock the system and get a better draft pick for 2014 - which apparently is said to be more talented than 2013's anyway.

  • In reply to AdolphoPhillips67:

    They don't have to trade Marmol -- and I think everyone knew the Cubs want to trade Marmol and if they didn't, the potential Haren trade probably clinched it. I don't think they'll lose any leverage.

  • Were you away from computer when this happened, John?

  • Haha! Not this time, but I was looking to beef up the Soriano article. That's on the backburner now.

  • Yet another move by this F.O. that I love. Adding talent to the roster without giving up anything but cash(and not a ton of it or years). What's not to like about this move. Next week should be REAL interesting.

  • In reply to Bill:

    Yep and it gives them a chance to use Marmol to acquire more long term pieces. Brilliant. So great to have a focused plan right now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Couldn't agree more! This move alone (but also others like it) creates so many other options now of acquiring/restocking talent. Yes, the plan is wonderful to have and watch as this once decimated system-wide team is incrementally rebuilt. Love it!

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    In case I haven't told all of you guys, I really love this front office and how they go about their business and get what they want and continue to improve this squad and organization...I got a feeling that Marmol and Soriano may be gone and I'm betting on a trade involving Hendry's high draft picks for guys Theo wants...It feels nice to be in capable hands...

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Hopefully not Baez! Hendry's organizational void was more a lack of player development than it was talent identification & selection.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I want Baez too, I was thinking more along the lines of B Jax, Vitters, Clevenger, McNutt pretty much most of the guys drafted before the 2011 class..I still got a gut feeling were gonna move Barney too, Theo had Pedroia for a long while and that's his prototypical 2b

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Feels great to have a plan and the ability to execute it. Really like the direction this offseason is going so far. They're hitting all their targets.

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Agreed. I can see the new FO ridding itself of many, if not all, of Hendry's acquisitions. Surely, but slowly. John, what do you think a return for Marmol might be? Someone like Haren, only healthy?

  • I would think so, someone of similar value, may not be a pitcher, though.

  • w00t! Great pickup! Love these club options to boost our return if we ever need to flip him too.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Yes, indeed. Nice to have those club options.

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    This will have a domino effect and I like where its going. If he does prove a quality closer then his contract is an absolute steal and teams will pay up for him when that time comes. I'm thinking he can fetch you more than teams got for Andrew Bailey, Broxton, and Walden. Let's review. Josh Reddick, couple prospects, and tommy Hanson. Not to mention what you get for Marmol. The informed cubs fan will scratch their head but us here at cubs den applaud moves like this.

  • John, from a talent/development perspective - how does the Japanese league compare to MLB? Seems that players come here from there with mixed success. Kinda like dominating at AAA not transferring to MLB....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Higher than AAA. I guess similar to a 4A player in a way, but it depends. Suzuki, Matsui were very good talents. Darvish too.

    I've said that in the past that at about AA, the physical talent isn't all that different. At that point, mental makeup, ability to adapt, adjust start to stand out. I think it's the same with players coming from foreign leagues.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That was kind of my point... I love this signing, but I also celebrated Fukudome's signing....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Me too. A lot of people liked that signing, including the experts.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yes, probably 4A equivalent, with a tilt towards stronger pitching than batting talent. And, in fact, more pitchers have been successful in the MLB. Lots of them were relievers too.

    Very excited about this move. Not only for the stronger bullpen and trade value it creates, but also (selfishly) now the Japanese sports press will follow the Cubs more!

    A little worried that Fujikawa likes to try to blow his fastball by everyone, which won't translate as well against Major League hitters, but he also has a great splitter/fork. And a good nasty streak. We were at a game a few years ago and he got mad at a batter for calling time too much and at the last second. Continued with his delivery and threw it intentionally to the backstop!

  • In reply to TokyoCraig:

    Thanks for the insight Craig. A "Nasty" streak will serve him well as a closer.

  • In reply to TokyoCraig:

    The extra coverage is a nice little fringe benefit. Didn't think about that. Nice.

    Like the nasty streak too. Great story.

  • Somehow this comment board isn't complete without gposner chiming in, "WHO?"

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Kyuji Fujikawa is my new best "tomodatchi"......

  • I wonder if the Angels are still interested in Marmols?

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    It is ironic that they were the other possible suitor for Fujikawa isn't it? lol

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    Could be. They may need a backup plan since they're going with a closer coming off a major injury.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    I can see the Angels still being interested. This time it would cost them more than a full-salaried and injured Haren for Marmol plus cash.

  • Because of room on the 40-man roster, what are the chances of
    the Cubs trading for very young prospects that don't have to be
    put on the 40-man roster. Teams might be more willing to trade
    these type of prospects.

  • I agree that it is likely that Marmol gets traded, which I totally agree should happen since closers can go from dominant to useless in a matter of a month (which Marmol pretty much did this season, I'm just glad he bounced back.) Anyway, I think there is at least a chance that Marmol doesn't go during the offseason. This team needed a strength, and it may now be the bullpen with the holdovers and the addition of K-Fuj. FO talked about the lack of surplus in the organization to trade. They just added some with this signing and whether Marmol goes now or later I love the move for giving them some flexibility.

  • In reply to jimmy mac1:

    It is tempting to build a strong bullpen. Might be fun to see a couple of power arms at the end of the game. Think this FO is set on trading Marmol, though.

  • I read these reports yesterday that Fujikawa is about to sign with the Angels, and here comes the Cubs.........Hello Mr Fujikawa, goodbye Mr Marmol......

    What is Fukudome doing these days?

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Free agent I think. Maybe goes back to play in the NPB to end his career.

    I was starting to feel pessimistic about Fujikawa, Cubs must have sweetened that deal at the last minute.

  • More potential bullpen signings: Jason Grilli, Mike Adams or K-Rod...Thoughts?

  • In reply to kb20:

    All intriguing names. I think Cubs would consider all those guys as long as it was reasonable. Grilli drawing a lot of attention, it seems.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    How about Marmol for Bourjos? No go?

  • I'd take it on the Cubs side. Not sure the Angels want to. Maybe if they were desperate for a closer.

  • I could see the Angels doing maybe Marmol and Jackson for Bourjos and a prospect. After losing Hunter, they are not so eager to move Bourjos.

  • Bourjos will not be traded for Marmol or Jackson....Angels will not do that deal.

  • Pepto Bismol will be very dissapointed if the Cubs trade Marmol, as sales in the Chicago market will surely plummet. I won't know what to do without a closer who goes to 3 and 0 on every other hitter, and walks at least two guys in the ninth.

  • They're going to pull half of it from the shelves and ship it to his next city.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Be nice and symmetrical now if that team turns out to be the Angels. We know they have interest after the near Haren-Marmol deal, and we kept the possibility alive by nabbing Fujikawa.

  • fb_avatar

    Bob Brenly left too soon. :)

  • Marmol seems to be the way out....Soriano is drawing more interest this time around from Yankees, Phillies, Braves, Rays, Tigers, Orioles, Mariners, Red Sox, Indians.....

    Rays, Tigers, Yankees, & Red Sox all sound more logical for Soriano.....

    Pitching core looks like this so far....

    Locked in players


    In the Wings (June arrival) -


    So there are 2 - 3 pitching pitching spots could go to a Rule 5 player.......which means the rest has to come through trades or F/A signings....not from Iowa....anyone wants to see Coleman, Castillo or Rusin again in 2013?.

    Theo should go after these pitchers to fill in those 2-3 spots.


  • Somebody posted a you tube video over on Bleacher Nation of Fuji. Wicked looking splitter.

  • Yes, he definitely has a wicked splitter. It's going to be fun seeing how well it plays at Wrigley.

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    Awesome! I love it! Great signing for the Cubs!

  • Nice link to his pitches and delivery if anyone's interested:

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Thanks Carne. I'll post the video on the site for you guys.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    That rising fastball strikeout was pretty sick. Looks like he has good movement on his Splitter too.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    I'll be looking for that bad boy during games. Probably too greedy to hope for it on MLB 13.

  • angel fans are so upset they are bashing the cubs now.

  • LOL!! The Angels just signed Madson , more or less telling Fujiwaka that he is not the guaranteed closer. The Angel fans need to calm down a bit and realize that Fujikawa wanted to be the closer and must have been promised that by the Cubs. Like John said, Marmol is as good as gone. It would shock me if Marmol is still here by spring training.

  • Yeah,... I'm thinking that this does mean that Marmol is likely to be shopped heavily. Wonder if they will wait until Spring Training - just to see how good the new guy is against actual big-league MLB players?

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    Is there a 3B out there that would be a good trade for Marmol? Someone that could fill the void until some of out lower level prospects pan out? Hmmmmm

    Yankees looking to move Alex Rodriguez?

    Could Marmol be the center piece of a deal like that?

    Just a thought folks.....

  • Awesome!

    Now I can resume selling that huge inventory of pointy Japanese bamboo (I think they're bamboo) hats with the "C" on 'em that I got for pennies on the dollar!!


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