Reports earlier in the week had Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa down to the Cubs and Angels, with the Angels as the frontrunner, but …

According to multiple reports, it is the Cubs who will be signing the 32-year-old reliever to a two-year deal with a variety of options tacked on to the end. According to Ken Rosenthal, the contract breaks down like this:

  • Fujikawa gets a $1 million signing bonus, and then salaries of $4 million in 2013 and 2014.
  • From there, he has a vesting option in 2015 which kicks in if he finishes a certain number of games. That option could be worth $5.5 million or $6 million, depending on the number of games finished.
  • If that option doesn’t vest, the Cubs get a club option for 2015 at $5.5 million with a $500K buyout.
  • Thus, it’s a total guarantee of $9.5 million for the two years, which could escalate to as much as $15 million over three years.

Jon Heyman says the total guarantee is $9.2 million, not $9.5 million, for whatever that’s worth. We’ll see the final details shake out over the next day or so.

His addition is a nice one for a¬†beleaguered¬†pen, but you’ve got to figure that it also signals that closer Carlos Marmol is on his way out. The Cubs have already tried – unsuccessfully – to trade him once this offseason, and they’ll undoubtedly keep trying. If the Cubs move Marmol, who is under contract for 2013 for $9.8 million, Fujikawa is obviously the favorite to take over as closer.

Heck, even if Marmol stays, there’s no guarantee that he might not move into a setup role, depending on Fujikawa’s effectiveness.

As I’ve said before, signing Fujikawa, for the Cubs, is not necessarily about signing a 32-year-old closer to a two-year deal because the Cubs expect to win in the next two years. It could simply be about trying to secure an undervalued asset on a favorable contract. Then, if he performs well, he could be dealt at some point in the future, assuming the Cubs aren’t competitive.

UPDATE: I should add, given how some of these things have turned out in the last year, that the Cubs have not confirmed the signing yet. Multiple reporters have, but that’s not a guarantee. That said, this seems pretty buttoned up, given the level of detail on the signing.

  • steve

    I’ve heard of Maronde, but know nothing of this Cowart. What position does he play. what level in the minors is he currently at? How about Bourjos as the player to be named?

    • someday…2015?

      Cowart plays third. Had decent numbers last year. Maronde is got great numbers and is trying to be turned into a starter. I don’t know if Bourjas could be the ptbnl because I think Maronde and Cowart got some nice value together and asking for Bourjas too would be a lot to ask for. Maronde is arguably the Angels top pitching prospect and Cowart is one of the Angels top positional prospects but the Angels system is not very strong. I think this trade would make too much sense but I wouldn’t be suprised to see a Marmol for Maronde deal straight up or Marmol for Cowart and Bourjas deal. As you can see I obviously think Marmol will end up as an Angel. Damn I can’t wait for the winter meetings to get going!

      • someday…2015?

        Cowart is also a switch hitter who was a high school pitching star so you know the kid has an arm. From what I read it sounds like he will get as high as AA next year. Played in high class A last year.

  • someday…2015?
  • Westbound Willie

    How about”no”?

  • dan

    OMG we are starting to put a 70 win team together

  • MichiganGoat

    Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation but I thought I remember hearing that Japan used a different size basebal until recently – can anybody confirm this or give me a reason to go to sleep.

    • OCCubFan

      I can’t give you a link, but I also recall that Japan used to use a different size ball, but changed to the MLB-size ball two or three or so years ago.

  • cubzforlife

    81 wins is what I need. Not likely for a 20 game jump from this group . A guy can dream.

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  • cubzforlife

    I don’t know Marmol but have seen him over the years at K.Woods fundraisers. He went from a very shy guy sitting by himself to a flashy roller, big diamonds in each ear kind of guy. His lack of success seemed to follow his flashiness that was made possible by that crazy contract.

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