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Chicago Cubs Agree to Sign Kyuji Fujikawa According to Reports

Chicago Cubs News, Chicago Cubs Transactions

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


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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.

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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.


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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.


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor of Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.