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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.

  • baldtaxguy

    This is a very interesting signing, and I like the idea of classing up the bullpen with a (likely) (potentially) effective closer. Would this be the first instance that a (likely) (potentially) effective closer is paired with Marmol, i.e. there has never been a true closer option other than Marmol since he has been closing? If so, I wonder if Marmol can find himself more effective in setup or situational appearances?

  • JulioZuleta

    Off topic but Kap just mentioned that he had heard DeRosa’s name as a possible Brenly replacement. If this happens I will be investing in the best radio money can buy.

    • JulioZuleta

      Of course he always was a media member first and foremost. Playing baseball was secondary.

  • DarthHater

    Now all we need is somebody who can score some runs and build a lead for this guy to protect.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The flip side is guys who will consistently stop the other team from scoring runs. Through the All-Star break last year, over 70% of the games were won by the team that held the first lead. (By that, I mean that they were ahead at the end of an inning; so, if the visiting team scores one in the first and the home team scores twice, then the home team held the first lead of the game.) That’s half hitting and half run prevention, and most of that second half is starting pitching rather than fielding or relief pitching. Moreover, it was pretty much true for all of the teams: none of them deviated significantly from that winning percentage when they held the first lead.

      However, there was a huge difference in how often different teams held the first lead! (Here’s a hint: our Cubbies were not very good at it…..)

  • Internet Random

    The time is right to get Dicky T. in the fold. McLeod can always use more help.

  • cubchymyst

    One thing all of the pitchers Theo and Jed have signed showed that they will not put up with a pitcher that walks to many batters. My guess is Marmol is traded this month.

  • Assman22

    Cubs after more bullpen guys…Grilli, Adams, K Rod…

  • ottoCub

    Where’s the squeeeeeaaaaalll!! (?)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      This isn’t quite “squeal” worthy. It was probably “BOOM” worthy, but I was with the kiddo at my mom’s house, and had to rush.

      • ottoCub

        Understandable. I love to see the Cubs being competitive with these signings. They don’t seem to be in the hunt this year (yet) on any of the “big” names, but they’ve been very successful at signing “medium” name players. It’s been a good off-season so far. Not great yet, but good. They need to get one more starter, and an outfielder with some SLG! Then can we squeal?

  • daveyrosello

    I wasn’t keen on the move before, but now that the $$ is known, I like the Fuji signing for Team Theo. Reasonable price for a quality setup man, bargain price for a quality closer. And the Cubs bullpen was SO bad last year, they have to improve it for 2013, this is one step in that plan. Since they seem hell-bent on trading Marmol, looks like a setup man and a quality middle reliever should be next on Theo’s pitching shopping list.

  • http://Eyecanseeinc.net LeotheCub

    Any closer with these numbers is a big improvement over Marmol. The idea is to continue to improv each position beginning now. We need better outfielders, 3rd base, and everyone needs pitching. Keep signing, drafting, trading, and developing and it will all come together.

  • Brian Peters

    Heard Rickard talking about the Scott Baker deal. Mel Antonen was making the point that, at this time, the moves the Cubs are making are solid ones. Rickard disagreed, saying something to the effect of “I just don’t want to hear about teams bellyaching because they have the money to spend, and they aren’t spending it.” What’s his effing problem? Is he another Theo hater? Did he not get the memo about the state of the Cubs and the direction in which they are trying to head?

  • jesus zuniga

    Sign next..
    Sp john lanahan
    Sp kevin slowley
    Sp jair jurjins
    Sp kevin corrira
    Rp jose valverde
    Ss stephen drew trade castro to rangers for mike ott 3b..

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The Rangers have both Andrus and Profar. They are one of the only teams in MLB that really has no need to trade an asset as valuable as Ott for a young SS!

      I’m all for signing Jurjens and Valverde, but only if we can make them pitch for the Cardinals.

    • Big Talker

      Hey you smart guys it is Mike Olt. Also why would they want Castro?

    • MichiganGoat

      Wow that quite the armchair GM and a quick way to get to another 100 losses. Seriously a young SS that has shown MLB success for a 3B prospect that has not shown the success Castro has demonstrated. Keep dreaming.

  • Dane

    So, is this is an indication that they expect to be (at least moderately) competitive next year? If so, the Winter Meetings should be fun to follow.

  • cas-castro

    No.

  • nkniacc13

    Be very interesting at the winter meetings you have to think Marmol maybe gone and then you have Sori that the Cubs will try and trade. i also would kinda be shocked not to see the cubs make a prospect deal as well

  • pj

    video here of his fastball, splitter, curveball.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRvoBiJXaYk

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      Thank you for posting that link pj. That splitter is deadly!

    • cheryl

      That link is something else. Thanks. Hope he’s just the beginnng of turning the cubs around. Now they need a real good starting pitcher, Will they go after Anabel Sanchez?

      • cheryl

        If the cubs want another top of the line starter they may think in terms of David Price, but they’d have to pay Tampa plenty for him -( Are Castro, Vogelbach, and probably two top pitching prospects realistic?) but is he someone the cubs would go after? Tampa also need salary relief.

      • DarthHater

        Anabel?

        With apologies to Edgar Allen Poe:

        It was in the city of Chicago
        Where Clark and Addison branches,
        That a pitcher there pitched whom you may know
        By the name of Anabel Sanchez . . .

    • ltdan001

      Thanks for posting this link. The Cubs might continue to suck, but I am happy and excited about this signing. Honestly, I think we could compete with a bunch of luck and three more pieces: a #2 or #3 starter, a good 3b player, and a CF. Michael Bourn isn’t a good idea unless the contract is for four years or it’s really cheap for 5 or 6. Why would you not just go for Josh Hamilton instead? I would go up to five and $125M for Hamilton without blinking an eye! Really 6 and $150M wouldn’t be that bad for one of the best players in MLB.

    • Brittney

      that was a good look at the great pick up the cubs just signed. I havent been this excited for ‘pen/closer in a while!

      He has 3 different pitches that look really good. I really like his curve ball….I think he will get plenty of swings and misses with that.

      I also like his mechanics. Too often you see pitchers that come from China/Korea/Japan that have some funky throwing motion. he seems like he will be durable and if the team gives him a shot he can save 30 games

      maybe next year the cubs will add some bigger free agents!

  • baldtaxguy

    Thanks for the link.

    152 Kilometers per Hour = 94.44842122007476 Miles per Hour – probably plays a few more kmph with the splitter. Nice breaking ball.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Thanks for the video. He threw more strikes in that 3 minute clip than Marmol did in April and May last season. Looks like a nasty splitter and curve.

  • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

    That was a sweet video. Thanks,

  • Matt

    I like this signing alot. Not meaning he will do as well as he did in Japan but we go him for a relatively team friendly deal. ALSO, this could help sway Shohei Otani to sign with the cubs once he is available to sign.

  • steve

    I’m liking what Theo has been adding here. All the prospects he added the first year, now these solid type pitchers. There’s not a great player signed, but these guys, Baker, Kyuji, and Feldman should all be solid types, that don’t walk guys, not being overpaid, I like it. Baker was Minnesota’s ace for a few years, if he’s healthy, he could be extremely good. Feldman had a down year last year, but overall he’s a solid, midrotation guy. Marmol is gone, IMO, hopefully we can snag a good 3B or OF for him, not a star type, just a solid performer. Same should hold true for Soriano. I’m hoping we add some power for the OF and 3B though, considering outside Soriano and Rizzo we don’t really have much power, and Soriano is likely gone soon as well. I really want Moustakas, he has good power, plays good defense, and I suspect he’ll breakout next season. As far as the OF goes, as it stands we need a CF/RF, if Soriano is moved we’ll need 2. I also would like to see us sign two more starting type pitchers considering Garza won’t be a cub much longer, so we’ll need someone to step in his spot, and with Baker coming off injury, and the other inevitable injuries that occur, we’ll need someone in the pen that can step up should the need arise. Give me Lannon cause I like what he could be in wrigley, and Gorzalany could be another good option out of the pen, or starting. Throw in Moustakas, swap out Soriano for something of worth, get another two OF, hopefully with at least moderate power, solid defense, and we should be at least a solid team headed in the right direction.

    • ltdan001

      I bet Hoyer hates that Theo gets the credit for all the moves…if he doesn’t it’s still dumb that we tend to go over Hoyer’s head. I hope everyone knows we have a brilliant GM even in the absence of Theo.

  • Stevie B

    WOW

    That split was NASTY

    I’m afraid MLB will pick up on his off speed stuff though. He looks like telegraphs his slow stuff..

    No, I’m not a major league scout…but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

  • MacPete

    Not sure if anybody asked already or not but, does anybody know if he’s going to pitch in the world baseball classic or not?

  • Brian Peters

    That video is incredible. Hope he transfers well here in Cubbie Land!

  • Brian Peters

    This may have been covered elsewhere, but why is he, at age 32, just now coming to play ball here?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Just became a free agent, I believe. Probably signed a long-term deal in his mid-20s or something.

  • calicubsfan007

    I am waiting for official conformation before I show any semblance of excitement. Media has screwed with us before.

  • Fastball

    I hope Jed and Theo have their marketing videos on Jackson, Clevenger, Campana, Szcur, Vitters, Riley and Ruso and they just have them playing over and over in the lobby. Maybe some body will want to put a deal together for all of them. Get all these guys off our 40 man and we will be able to get this rebuild moving in high gear. I just wish these guys where at least marketable. They are all throw in’s. I really don’t want to see Marmol or Soriano traded. I don’t think they need to be traded.
    Sign Eric Chavez to play 3b for the next 2 years. Sign McCarthy and Bourn and we got us a decent ball club. Maybe one other OF’er with some power and 2 more BP pitchers.

    • Brian Peters

      Wow. Marmol doesn’t need to be traded? He blew more saves than my ex…..nope, better not go down that road. He sucks, dude. And Soriano is old AND he sucks. Get with it, man.

      • Kubphan82

        Don’t know what you really meant when you said Marmol/Soriano suck…

        Marmol allowed 5er after July 7… While he struggled, he certainly doesn’t suck and does have value. Soriano must suck since he didn’t win the GG, because he hit 30/106… Hate having guys like this on the team! The whole 1 error on the season while playing on one knee must have cost the Cubs 20 games!!!

        If we CAN trade them, great! If NOT, eh oh well, it wasn’t for lack of trying.

      • TonyP

        Marmol blew 3 saves last year. Unless your ex is Shawn Camp, who had 4, then you are correct your Ex had less.

  • PKJ

    Love this signing… I hope they’re not done dealing with the bullpen.

  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

    Soriano and marmot added nothing to help the cubs. Losing 101 should tell everybody all you need to know. Billy Williams could have played out in left field and the cubs might have lost a game or two more. And he’s 70 years old.

    Marmot is inconsistent and no matter what he does kills the mindset of the cubs due to his unpredictable pitching over the course of a season. I don’t care what marmot did in the last three months. He blew it for the cubs in the first three months. Sorianos window is closed as far as helping the cubs. He had his chance in 07 and 08 and help blow it. You might as well have candy Maldonado out there now. Soriano is a disgrace to the game and is a loser”

    • Kubphan82

      ^^^Someone’s grapes have soured^^^^

      We’ll trade them for some value if we can, if not they’ll be serviceable on the improved 2013 edition of the Cubs.

  • Eric

    It’s just about adding assets. The Cubs scouted this guy and like the way he pitches. Now they can trade Marmol for a decent prospect. Or heck even keep marmol for the 8th inning then come trade deadline have 2 really good relievers as options to trade for a good prospect, if they so choose. I like the move and I’m excited only because it’s another new Cub to talk about.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    How about Soriano and Marmol to the Angels for Kaleb Cowart, Nick Maronde, and a ptbnl.

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