Word of the Cubs signing Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa broke a few days ago, but not much was commented on by the tight lipped Cubs front office that we are all now accustom to. The latest news is that Chicago is just waiting for Fujikawa to take and pass his physical before officially announcing the deal, which appears to be on pace for this Friday. However, it appears that Jed Hoyer is not done looking for addressing his bullpen needs. He commented over the weekend that the Cubs will continue to seek relievers at the Winter Meetings, along with the team’s other needs.
September 30, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Jason Grilli (39) reacts after striking out the side against the Cincinnati Reds during the eighth inning at PNC Park. The Cincinnati Reds won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
One name that has actually popped up on the radar is Jason Grilli. The veteran reliever had spent the last two seasons with the Pirates, posting a sub 3.00 ERA both times over a combined 92 appearances and 91 1/3 innings. Even more attractive is the strikeouts per nine innings ratios, which were 10.2 and 13.8 in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Grilli’s walks totals are slightly higher than desired, but based on his WHIP and ERA over the last two seasons, he has shown to be able work around them and limit the damage.
The right hander earned $1.1 million last season and would be looking for a bit of a raise this off season. The only other competition for Grilli that has been named so far is division rival Milwaukee.