The Cubs stayed busy on Friday and introduced their new ‘set-up’ man while two more of their off-season targets came off the board.
The Cubs agreed to terms on a two-year contract with Kyuji Fujikawa last Saturday and held his introductory press conference in the clubhouse at Wrigley Field on Friday morning. Fujikawa answered all of the questions from the Chicago and Japanese media through an interpreter. Fujikawa speaks broken English but did not feel comfortable in the formal setting without an interpreter. Don Nomura, his agent from Japan, helped Fujikawa on Friday.
The Cubs have not announced the necessary roster move to add both Nate Schierholtz and Ian Stewart to the 40-man roster. With the addition of Fujikawa, the Cubs 40-man roster stands at 39 players. Schierholtz is expected to take his physical in the coming week and once he passes, the one-year contract that he agreed to on Wednesday will become official. Kyuji Fujikawa
The Cubs’ newest reliever was all smiles after Jed Hoyer introduced him on Friday. Fujikawa will wear number 11 with the Cubs, half of his familiar number 22 he wore with the Hanshin Tigers. Fujikawa said to have a better career than number 22 he went younger with number 11. Fujikawa asked for the number and felt he was lucky it was available.
Fujikawa said the reason he wanted to play in the states was that he feels he is ready for a new challenge and wanted to test himself against the best hitters in the world.
Kyuji Fujikawa appears to be in line to close games once Carlos Marmol is traded. The Cubs talked to Marmol recently and told him that he would begin the season with the Cubs in the closer’s role and they would not approach him again about waiving his no trade rights until July.
The Cubs said Friday that Fujikawa was not signed just to be flipped during the season for younger talent. Fujikawa was asked how he felt about the possibility of being traded after picking the Cubs over other teams. Fujikawa said he would not care if he was traded but according to a report from the Sun-Times, he does care about being traded. Fujikawa would like to be part of the Cubs building process.
Kyuji Fujikawa came close to signing with the Angels, in fact there were internet reports just hours before his deal leaked with the Cubs that he was leaning toward signing with the Angels, but he said he really liked the city and after he toured Wrigley Field it was just “Cubs, Cubs, Cubs.”
The plan, for now, is for Kyuji Fujikawa to be used in the seventh and eighth inning.
According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs signed right-handed pitcher Andrew Carpenter to a minor league deal that includes a non-roster invite to big league camp.
Carpenter was the Phillies second round pick in the 2006 draft and made six appearances in the majors last season with the Blue Jays. In 23 career big league games, one start, Carpenter is 1-1 with a 7.56 ERA and a 1.83 WHIP. Carpenter pitched at two minor league levels for two different organizations last year (Mets and Blue Jays) and posted a 6-3 record in 31 games, 12 starts, with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP.
Andrew Carpenter joins Blake Parker, J.C. Boscan, Edwin Maysonet and Brian Bogusevic as players that have inked minor league deals with the Cubs this off-season that include non-roster invitations to Spring Training.
Several former Cubs have signed minor league deals with new organizations. Blake DeWitt inked a minor league deal with the Braves and the Rangers announced they signed Randy Wells to a minor league contract (the Wells signing leaked on twitter a couple of weeks back). Scott Moore signed on with the A’s and Marquez Smith was taken by the Rangers from the Reds in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft.
News, Notes and Rumors
The Cubs are one of at least three teams waiting to hear from veteran reliever Jason Grilli. Grilli’s agent, Gary Sheffield, said his client would sign with a team on Wednesday, then again on Thursday. The Cubs reportedly have a two-year deal on the table to Grilli. According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs have “lukewarm hopes” of signing him.
Could David DeJesus be an option for the top of the Mariners’ lineup? Jon Paul Morosi thinks DeJesus could be a fit that could net the Cubs a long-term asset for the rebuilding project.
The Cubs and Giants were in negotiations with Ryan Ludwick before the Reds re-signed the former Cardinals’ outfielder to a two-year contract.
As previously reported, Kyuji Fujikawa is not expected to pitch for Team Japan in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Fujikawa will work instead with the Cubs’ coaches in Spring Training.
According to the Tribune, the Red Sox, Brewers and Royals are the three main teams interested in signing Ryan Dempster. According to ESPN Boston, Dempster rejected a two-year, $25 million offer from the Red Sox.
A day after news leaked that the Cubs had an offer on the table to Brandon McCarthy, the former Southsider agreed to a two-year contract with the Diamondbacks worth a reported $15.5 million ($2 million signing bonus, $4 million in 2013 and $9.5 million in 2014). According to Phil Rogers, the Cubs offered McCarthy a two-year contract heavy on bonuses.
Reed Johnson signed a one-year, $1.6 million contract with the Braves that includes $150,000 incentives package and a club option worth $1.6 million for the 2014 season that includes a $150,000 buyout. Johnson signed a guaranteed contract for $1.75 million that could max out at $3.5 million.
Major League Baseball’s average salary increased 3.8 percent this season to a record $3.2 million.
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