From the Wire … Cubs Agree to Terms with Kyuji Fujikawa

According to a report from Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs have agreed to a two-year contract with free agent right hander Kyuji Fujikawa for $9.5 million. The deal includes a vesting option for a third year and according to Rosenthal, Fujikawa will likely be the Cubs’ closer.

According to Ken Rosenthal, Fujikawa received a $1 million signing bonus and will make $4 million per year in 2013 and 2014. The third year vesting option is worth $5.5 million or $6 million and is based on games finished. If the third year option does not vest, the Cubs would buyout the third year of the contract for $500,000 … a total guaranteed contract of $9.5 million.

The Cubs have not commented on the signing according to Paul Sullivan.

Updated 5:37pm CSTAccording to Jon Heyman, Fujikawa’s contract includes $2 million in performance bonuses per year on top of the guaranteed $9.5 million.

The 32-year old right hander owns a 26-18 career mark in 345 games over six seasons in Japan. Fujikawa has recorded 202 saves with a 1.36 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP. Fujikawa was 2-2 in 48 games last season with the Hanshin Tigers (1.32 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP). Fujikawa struck out 58 batters, walked 15 and surrendered 34 hits in 47 2/3 innings.

Kyuji Fujikawa features a low-90s fastball, a slider and a forkball.

Kyuji Fujikawa’s Page on Baseball-Reference

According to David Kaplan, the Cubs signed Fujikawa to keep him, not flip him at the deadline. The Cubs like his skill set and are trying to upgrade the pitching staff.

Carlos Marmol has one year remaining on the three-year contract he signed prior to the 2011 season. Marmol is owed $9.8 million for the 2013 season.

Jim Bowden reported that the Cubs and Angels could revisit a deal for Carlos Marmol now that Fujikawa is under contract for two years.

Stay Tuned …

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  • Cubs4ever

    Good gamble with that type of contract. He can be flipped if he pitches well. Teams in contention covet bullpen arms and he could bring back a big haul. This is their best move so far this offseason. Imo Carlos marmol…pack your bags.

    • Raymond Robert Koenig

      Well put. Bye, bye Carlos.

  • Tony_Hall

    Good move with virtually no down side.

    Worse case he doesn’t work and all it cost was cash (no players or draft picks used). And they have plenty of money in the budget to spend money on options like this.

    • Vivid_Reality

      I agree. If he dominates, the two years of extra control will net us a nice haul if we decide to flip him at the deadline. I could see this turning into a more permanent solution though. The Cubs might be competing towards the end of his deal and they could chose to extend him at that point.

      • BosephHeyden

        Reading over on the side there that Kaplan is hearing Mark DeRosa’s name to replace Brenly. I wouldn’t mind that, since DeRosa is beloved my most Cubs fans, not to mention the fact that he has a pretty good voice for announcing. As a color guy, you could do a lot worse…and unfortunately a lot worse is all the other options.

        • texcubnut

          Actually, Jim Deshaies is very good. I listened to a lot of the Astros broadcasts down here and he is very informative and intelligent. I believe Cubs fans would like him.

    • cubs1967

      didn’t ryan madson sign for 3.5M? just sayin the down side is pissing away 9.5M when there is a proven option for 6M less. the cubs are basically spending money this year to spend it; 20M for baker-feldman-unknown RP from another country; doesn’t make any sense. this team is gonna lose 90 plus games…… lose 100; doesn’t really matter till ricketts decides 250M in revenue means we should be competing; no losing on purpose. this guy’s agent is clueless; even if marmol gets traded; he’ll be lucky to get 60 save opps the next 2 yrs combined with the current losing mentality at clark and addison.

      • Theboardrider

        They’re investing on cheap opions with upside. Nothing to lose and prospects to gain at the deadline if these guys pan out. Good plan for a team with low expectations and a depleted farm system. Glad to see management being consistent executing their plan. Here’s to 2014 and beyond…

      • calicub

        a. Ryan madson is no longer available, so there isn’t a proven option availible for 6m less
        a2. Madson’s contract is a $3.5M base plus incentives making it close to double that.
        b. Ryan Madson likely only wanted to be with a contender and one year deal.
        c. Madson came so cheap for the reasons touched on in (b) and was coming off an injury which stopped him from pitching last year.
        d. Coming off a major injury to your throwing arm makes you anything but Proven.
        e. Once again you’ve shown that you are unable of longterm conceptualization and only wish to be instantly gratified.
        f.WHo in their right mind believes that throwing money at the problem will fix it which seems to be what you are calling for in saying @ $250 Mil, they should be competative. I doubt, even if they went out and added the to FA in the market they would win the world series. Grienke, Sanchez, Hamilton, maybe Bourn in the outfield, heck why not AJ P behind the plate and heck why not throw a bunch of prospects, the last year was spent in accumulating, tring to acquire some 3b who might just might help the cubs win all while teathering harmful longterm contracts and blocking future prospets. Does any of that sem reasonable, logial, or rational? i certainly don’t think so, but i’d like to think i’ve got a pretty level head…
        g. Even if they spent more money on FA, you really think that 250 is just going straight to the bank The club has expanded its operations, its holdings, beefed up its staff and pumped tons of money into a depleted system in improving facilities in AZ the DR as well as scouting etc.

        We’re this deep in the rebuild and theres no going back Quit digging in and just let it happen.

        • SuzyS

          Well said.

      • Tony_Hall

        I think calicub broke this down already pretty well.

        Ryan Madson is anything but proven, and that is why he signed for $3.5M

        Actually $20M for Baker, Feldman, and Fujikawa is a pretty good investment in 3 players who fill needs in SP and bullpen help and all can be traded.

        You can’t have it both ways, wanting them to spend money then complaining because they spent money, but not like you want.

        How many games this team losses in 2013 is still not important, building an organization that can be competitive year after year and win a World Series is the goal. That can’t be done by spending money in FA like a drunken sailor anymore. The best players don’t hit free agency and the ones that do, get way, way over paid. Ask the Marlins and Angels how it feels to “WIN” the off season by over paying for free agents.

        I do believe you are a smart guy and know that top line revenue of any business is not all spendable in any one expense item. The Cubs have a lot of money to spend, but that doesn’t mean they have to spend it all every year. There are these things called banks that allow you to keep money at them, so you can spend it later. Call it a war chest if you will. It will allow them to keep all of the best players that they bring up to the majors, it will allow them to use cash to sign players they can trade, to get more prospects, it will help them pay for guys they are still trying to trade with high salaries from the previous regime. It will also allow them to spend lots of it to sign the best free agents, that fill their needs, when the time is right, and to ideally, trade for elite talent that teams that can’t afford them need to trade for more young talent, they can afford. It is like any business, cash is king and having discipline to stockpile cash and talent, instead of spending it as fast as it comes in, is the sign of smart businessmen.

        Would you rather they overspent, then had to trade off players, eating cash and getting an unequal return of talent? That’s what happens when teams overspend and don’t have the cash to pay the bills coming due.

        • J Daniel

          GREAT post!!!! This is about building. I know we are all getting older and want it now. It is not Theo/Jed and boys fault that it has not been done in the past, they can only control what will be done moving forward.

          IMO, they have done a great job already. Of course they have had a couple of debatable roster management issues, again, debatable. Let’s all keep in mind what a DISASTER this has been.

          They have proven that you might get close by signing a bunch of guys but when it doesn’t happen, and you don’t have a system, well, you end up like what they are now.

          Will they be competitive next year? I think they will be a lot better but not close to contention. But with more high picks which I believe will become impact players and a few more deadline deals…they will start to become much better in 2014 and start to become contenders. It is next winter I think you will start to see them sign a couple of impact guys.

          It is not going to surprise to see Castro moved in a deal for very high end prospects to keep this thing moving forward. And, IMO, that is what should be done. They have more SS’s that will be ready soon.

          The signing of Fujikawa is a great one! Why? Cheap contract, another bullpen guy with experience, which will allow Marmol and $10 million to go, which almost covers his, Bakers, and Feldman’s money. That is smart business. Marmol, although he can be dominant, must not be very smart and not coachable. EVERYONE knows he needs to use his fastball more. I am 100% positive he has been told this. But he refuses! He needs to go as that is part of the problem when players do what they want.

          Time will tell if Fujikawa was signed to be moved. I don’t think so as he is cheap. I think he was signed so they can move Marmol for prospects. If they are blown away with an offer, they will trade him to. Which is another thing they are doing – NO NO TRADE CLAUSES!

          GO CUBS!

          • Tony_Hall

            Great post. I would like to address the mistakes they have made in roster management.

            Every team makes them.

            There are no cheat sheets that give the right answers. Suzy posted on the newer thread, that as we build talent in the organization, the players we lose should be better players. But every team makes mistakes every year.

            To those that say, “I told you so, I predicted that would be a bad move.” Of course you did, that is why you say every move is bad, so you can be right when it goes wrong. Predicting failure all the time gives you a good chance to be right every so often.

        • Ray Ray

          Tell that winning in 2013 isn’t important to a lifelong Cub fan who doesn’t have too much time left on this earth.

          • Tony_Hall

            I am sorry if you disagree, but you can’t really make decisions based on that. Every team has fans who pass away everyday. I know Cub fans who have passed away, never to see the celebration we all hope to be seeing. But sports is not our lives nor should it define our lives.

        • SuzyS

          Tony, Good posts…but a couple of things.

          1) See Ray Ray’s post.

          2) The Cubs do have to give the mlb fans something to cheer about and keep the revenue flow going. I have some friends that have split season tickets for years…only going to 8 or 9 games and selling off the rest to finance it. They couldn’t give tickets away last year…so there are questions going forward about how long they can remain season ticket holders….so winning is always important in that sense.

          3) Something that is rarely talked about…at the time the Ricketts purchased the Cubs…the purchase represented over 50% of their net worth….with interest payments, (if I’m not mistaken), of @ $32 million per year.

          (Something the Tribune Co. never had to deal with.)

          Even for an avid Cubs fan like myself…I usually go to Wrigley several times a year…I might only go once this year…and content myself with several games at Kane County to

          see first hand our upcoming prospects for the 2013 season.

          So, while I buy into the rebuilding program…the Cubs will take a personal revenue hit this year from me…if everyone does that…..

          Winning is ALWAYS important….or at least a light at the end of a dark tunnel.

  • Neil

    I added info since the report first published. Worth reading …

    • Tony_Hall

      Do you know how to pronounce his name?

      • Neil

        Last name is Fu-Ge-Cow-Ah, trying to clarify first name … heard several different ways. Will post

      • Neil

        First name is Key-U-Ki

        • Dorasaga

          I have 10 years of Japanese experience (four years of schooling), and here’s my quick and dirty guide to pronouncing Fujikawa. Don’t pronounce what’s in my paranthesis:

          Foo(l)-Gee(z)-[The Foogee part is actually pronounced just as the mountain or apple “Fuji.”]

          Ka [short vowel, as if it’s Greek]-Wa (a light sound like “wow,” but with “a” and without “w”).

          First name Cue (as the English word “Q,” one sound)-Gee.

          Foogeekawa QGee.

          His first name, Kyuji, actually means the “Baseball Kid.”

          • SuzyS

            The ” Baseball Kid”… I like that!!!! Thanks Dorasaga…interesting AND informative!!!

          • Dorasaga

            “Closing the door, the Baseball Kid at your service.” This might be a good commercial line.

      • Dorasaga

        I hope my reply (below Neil’s) helps.

        • mutantbeast

          Id like to see Fujikawa be the early version of Kendo Sasake when he was with Seattle.

  • Cubs4ever

    The Cubs need to say that they signed him to keep him but is obvious that he was signed to flip. Why have a dominant closer if you are not contending? He could bring back a good haul.

    • GaryLeeT


      • Cubs4ever

        Ok. How about above average? They don’t need an above average closer until they are competitive so if he is above average he can be flipped.

  • Tom U

    In his first start of the winter, Arismendy Alcantara with a lead-off homer for Tigres del Licey in the DWL.

  • John_CC

    Excellent! His two year contract is less than Marmot’s last year. Also unlike Marmol, this guy is a control freak, missed lots of bats and rarely walks anyone.

    • calicub

      Plus with the cubs snagging him off the market, they make Marmol’s market increase that much more. I don’t see carlos starting the year in cubbie camp

  • Theboardrider

    I love it. If we overachieve and he plays well we’ve got a solid bullpen arm. If we play crappy and he plays well, it’s a manageable contract that can be flipped for prospects. If he plays bad, he’s relatively cheap so who cares. “The Cubs Way.”

  • Dorasaga

    The “Ball Kid” Kyuji has been the most dominant closer in a six-team league (Central, NPB). He’s also 32 years old. He cannot overachieve anymore. Baseball fans should have high expectation of him. But I doubt the Cubs will want to insert him to the closer role anytime soon. It’ll be a trial-and-error process to see where he fits. With this in mind, Marmol shouldn’t be dealt yet, unless the management sees something out of another reliever that we haven’t seen yet.

  • SuzyS

    Well said…However, I do see Marmol being shopped,
    (as he was last year). The key will be…what is the return?
    I can envision the Cubs eating half of Marmol’s salary to facilitate a better return.
    A non-contending team does not need the luxury of a dominant closer…but possibly another bullpen signing or 2 would give the Cubs enough options that they would not have to rely solely on the “Baseball Kid” for the closers spot.