I came across this video of Kyuji Fujikawa, the 32 year old Japanese relief pitcher the Cubs signed to a 2-year, $9.5M deal this offseason.
He’s been the closer for the Hanshin Tigers the past six seasons amassing 202 career saves including a 1.32 ERA in 2012. It seems likely Fujikawa takes over the closer’s role once Carlos Marmol is traded, which I’m assuming happens before spring training.
Nonetheless, I was intrigued by Fujukawa’s entrance music when he takes the mound in Japan. According to Wiki the song is titled “Every little thing, every precious thing” by Japanese rock group Lindberg. And it’s the music playing in the above video.
I must say it’s not what we’ve come to expect for major league closer music. And it will be interesting to see if Fujikawa wants to keep the tradition alive in the states. Apparently the song has a special meaning for him and his wife.
Regardless of whatever music Fujikawa desires to warm up to, here’s hoping he’s just capable of getting three quick outs and a save.
This move is really exciting. The Cubs desperately need bullpen help and adding Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa is an immediate upgrade.
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.