The Cubs have had an agreement in principle with Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa for almost a week now.
Dec 4, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Cubs managerDale Sveum
answers questions from the media during the Major League Baseball winter meetings at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
But now that Fujikawa has made the trip to Chicago and passed his physical, the deal will be announced at Wrigley Field on friday.
When manager Dale Sveum was asked if he could speak Japanese, he was quoted saying:
"I know how to spell ‘thank you,’ but that’s about it"
However, this did not stop Sveum for having high praise for the 32 year old Fujikawa:
"Those numbers and that ability to do things with three, four different pitches just doesn’t come around very often. He can set up, he can close. He can do anything he wants with a baseball. He has four quality pitches and can add and subtract with his fastball. He can pitch in the seventh, pitch in the eighth, pitch in the ninth. He can get left-handers out and pitch in any type of situation."
From hearing this, you’d think Sveum can see Fujikawa filling just about any role the Cubs may need.
Fujikawa is the third free agent signing the Cubs have procured this off season along with Scott Baker and Scott Feldman. While the bullpen is still very much a work in progress, Shawn Camp will be rejoining the squad in 2013 and James Russell is likely to return as well.
Things are not nearly certain for current Cubs’ closer Carlos Marmol. Jed Hoyer has been quoted saying that Marmol is still the Cubs’ closer and that has not changed:
"He had a great second half for us. You have to give credit to the pitcher. He did a great job, threw his fastball a lot more. I do think Chris Bosio deserves a lot of credit for learning about the player and seeing what he could do and really being clear."
These are kind words from Jed but the reality is he’s probably just saying this to keep Marmol’s perceived value in the market high. There will be much more action coming from the Winter Meetings, especially in the bullpen.
Stay tuned to Cubbies Crib for details as they break.