The Texas Rangers have reportedly come to terms with former Cubs’ reliever Kyuji Fujikawa on a one-year deal, according to T.R. Sullivan via Twitter.
Fujikawa came to the Cubs from Japan with a very impressive resume. In 12 seasons, he posted a 1.77 ERA and a 11.9 K/9 against a 2.7 BB/9. Unfortunately his time in Chicago was limited to only 25 innings over the past two seasons. When he was signed, the Cubs had hoped he could fill the closer role with his ability to miss bats. But the injury occurred early and the team never really had the opportunity to see what he was capable of.
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Fujikawa, 34, underwent Tommy John surgery and a lengthy rehab in his time in Chicago. He posted a 5.04 ERA in his short time with the Cubs, but nearly matched his strikeout and walk ratios from Japan with a 11.2 K/p and a 2.9 BB/9 at the Major league level.
The deal is pending a physical due to the surgery last season and the nature of the recovery. The Cubs declined his $5.5 million option.
The Cubs experience with Japanese players hasn’t been all that successful. In 2008, the Cubs signed Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome to a four-year deal. In his time in Chicago, he failed to replicate his power numbers in Japan, and batted only .262 with the Cubs. After showing some life in the 2001 season, batting .274 in 87 games, the Cubs shipped him to Cleveland with cash for two minor leaguers.
After the stint in Cleveland the White Sox took a chance on him, but that lasted only 24 games. Fukudome returned to Japan where he has played the last two years, but the now 37-year old has struggled in his return, hitting only 15 home runs in his 167 games.