It’s not your classic rebuild move, Fujikawa is 32, but his successful career in Japan suggest he’s well worth the reported 2-year, $9.5M deal (202 career saves in six seasons with the Hanshin Tigers, including a 1.32 ERA in 2012).
Part of rebuilding is a balancing act between patient for the organization’s long-range goals and promptest to better the team in the standings year-to-year.
So occasionally the Cubs will need sidestep the classic rebuilding moves (young, unproven prospects) in favor of players who can impact the club immediately, which is exactly how I view the Fujikawa signing.
This is why I’ve been adamant Team Theo would have a surprise signing or two for us this winter (Fujikawa included); the Cubs simply can’t afford another 101-loss season in the name of rebuilding.
It’s one thing to patch holes with prospects, but making the team more competitive in 2013 will require more proven players, albeit more expensive ones who may only be around a year or two.
With baseball’s winter meetings beginning in Nashville on Monday, don’t be surprised if the Cubs make another splash through trade or free agency.
Even with the addition of Fujikawa the bullpen remains thin and finding a solid center fielder is another priority–among other needs.
I’m not suggesting the Cubs will make a move for 2013 at the risk of jeopardizing the long-term rebuild, but acquiring another name-player like Fujikawa doesn’t appear out of the question.