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Kyuji Fujikawa Rumors
Right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa, who was released from the Rangers last week, has signed a contract with the Kochi Fighting Dogs of the Shikoku Island League — an independent league in Japan, according to a report from Sanspo Sports. The Fighting Dogs officially announced the move today as well (both links in Japanese).
The 34-year-old Fujikawa is a native of Kochi and will be announced at a press conference in the coming days. One of the most heralded pitchers in Japanese history, Fujikawa pitched for Nippon Professional Baseball’s Hanshin Tigers from 2000-12, totaling a 1.77 ERA with 11.9 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and 220 saves in 692 1/3 innings.
Fujikawa made the jump from NPB to MLB in the 2012-13 offseason, signing a two-year, $9.5MM contract with the Cubs. However, he was never able to live up to that deal, as he suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament and underwent Tommy John surgery shortly into his Cubs career. He signed a one-year, $1.2MM contract with the Rangers this offseason but found himself quickly designated for assignment and released after returning from a stint on the disabled list due to a strained groin.
According to the Sanspo report (hat tip to former MLBTR scribe Aaron Steen for his assistance in translating the piece), Hanshin reached out to Fujikawa about a reunion following his release from the Rangers. Fujikawa had said that he would “be glad to get a dialogue going” with his former team. However, he did not find the Tigers’ offer to his liking and instead elected to pitch in his native Kochi. Fujikawa’s been pitching and working out since returning to Japan on May 25 while waiting to determine the next phase of his career. He told Sanspo in late May that he intended to pitch in Japan or retire, making a return to the United States seem unlikely.
MAY 24: The Rangers have announced Fujikawa has cleared unconditional waivers and is now a free agent.
MAY 22: The Rangers have placed Fujikawa on unconditional release waivers, tweets John Blake, the club’s executive vice president of communications. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets that Fujikawa wasn’t interested in pitching at Triple-A and was therefore granted his release.
MAY 17: The Rangers have designated Kyuji Fujikawa for assignment, according to John Blake of the Texas Rangers (on Twitter). Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News reports the Rangers could not option Fujikawa to the minors without his consent before June 15 and the right-hander had indicated to the team he did not intend to accept such an option.
Fujikawa, 35 in July, has appeared in just two games for Texas this season and didn’t have a great amount of success. In a combined 1 2/3 innings, he allowed three earned runs. He fared a little better better in eleven combined minor-league appearances this season. In 11 outings (ten at Triple-A, one at Double-A), the veteran pitched to a 4.35 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 7.8 BB/9.
The Rangers signed the reliever back in December to a one-year deal worth $1MM plus incentives. The contract also included a club option for $2MM that can be bought out for a modest $100K. Fujikawa threw only 25 innings between 2013 and 2014, with two stints sandwiched around a Tommy John procedure and rehab. The former Cub has never been a strong ERA buy, but he does own career averages of 10.8 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.
The Rangers now have ten days to trade, release, or outright Fujikawa to the minor leagues. The reliever is now is joined in DFA Limbo by Kevin Gregg, Nick Masset, Stolmy Pimentel, and Bruce Chen. You can keep track of everyone’s status using MLBTR’s DFA Tracker.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com ran through some final details on several transactions this morning. Rather than bumping all of those posts to the top of the page at once, I have added the new information and will round up the changes here. (All links to Twitter.)
- Brandon McCarthy‘s four-year contract with the Dodgers includes a conditional club option that reflects, but is not entirely synonymous with, the one that led to John Lackey playing the upcoming season at league minimum. As Heyman tweets, the Dodgers would hold a 2019 option for $5MM if McCarthy has spent more than 179 days on the DL due to a specific injury, or an $8MM option if he has missed between 119-179 days.
- In his new deal with the Royals, Kendrys Morales will earn $6.5MM in 2015 and $9MM in 2016, says Heyman. He also has a $1.5MM buyout on a $11MM option for 2017.
- Kyuji Fujikawa will actually receive a $1.1MM total guarantee from the Rangers, Heyman tweets. His deal comes with a $2MM club option and $100K buyout, and that option could rise to as much as $3.5MM if Fujikawa meets certain games-finished thresholds.
- Outfielder Nyjer Morgan received a $700K deal with the KBO’s Hanwha Eagles, Heyman tweets. That includes a $150K signing bonus and $550K salary.
The Rangers have officially agreed to a deal with free agent reliever Kyuji Fujikawa, as T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com first reported on Twitter. Fujikawa, a client of the Wasserman Media Group, gets a one year deal that includes a club option, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets.
The contract has a $1MM base salary plus incentives, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link). The club option is for $2MM and comes with a $100K buyout, bringing the total guarantee to $1.1MM, Heyman adds (via Twitter). That option could rise to as much as $3.5MM if Fujikawa meets certain games-finished thresholds.
Fujikawa, a 34-year-old righty, came to the United States by way of the Cubs. He has thrown only 25 innings over the past two seasons, with two stints sandwiched around a Tommy John procedure and rehab. Though he carries only a 5.04 ERA at the big league level, Fujikawa has shown he can miss major league bats. He has averaged 11.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9.
Chicago declined a $5.5MM option over Fujikawa at the start of the offseason. Fujikawa was an ace reliever in Japan, where he accumulated a 1.77 ERA over 12 seasons while posting 11.9 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9.
The 34-year-old struggled with injury issues and was never the pitcher the Cubs hoped when they signed him out of Japan. Across the last two years, he owns a 5.04 ERA over just 25 innings. He does have an impressive 11.2 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9 in that stretch, but he was rather homer prone this year.
While it will be hard to commit much to Fujikawa given his age and recent Tommy John procedure, that strikeout tally is hard to ignore. And he had a long run of durable success in the NPB before the Cubs brought him to the majors.
The state of next year’s free agent class will be impacted by whether or not players with vesting options in their contracts achieve the necessary playing time to trigger those conditional options. As we near the end of the season, here’s a rundown of these players and their progress toward triggering their options …
- Nick Punto, Athletics: Punto has a $2.75MM club option that will automatically vest if he spends fewer than 30 days on the disabled list, assistant GM David Forst told reporters at the time of the signing. Though Forst did add that there are other ways for Punto’s option to vest, the health route is no longer available. Punto was only activated yesterday — ten days into the September active roster expansion — after going on the DL on August 3rd. If the option doesn’t vest, the A’s have the choice of picking him up at $2.75MM or buying him out for $250K.
- Rickie Weeks, Brewers: Weeks has an $11.5MM option that won’t be vesting, as he would have needed to total 600 PA in 2014 or 1,200 PA in 2013-14 and finish the season healthy. He has just 255 PAs on the season, so he’ll fall well shy of that mark. Weeks will also fall shy of reaching 400 PAs, which would have entitled him to a $1MM buyout of his option.
- Jimmy Rollins, Phillies: Rollins’ option vested earlier this year when he reached 1,100 plate appearances over 2013-14. (He has also made 600 trips to bat in 2014, an independent basis for triggering the provision.) That clause, however, also required that he not finish the year on the disabled list, and Rollins left yesterday’s game with a hamstring injury. Word is that Rollins should be able to return, but with just three weeks left even a minor setback could well end his season. Nevertheless, Philadelphia would need to go out of its way to place him on the DL at this point, with active rosters expanded. And, in any event, the option would still vest if a mutually agreed-upon doctor deemed Rollins ready to start the 2015 season.
- Dan Haren, Dodgers: Haren needs 180 innings to trigger a $10MM player option for the 2015 season. Heading into his scheduled outing this evening, he has already notched 162 frames. Haren should be in line for at least three more starts (including tonight’s) before the end of the month, and maybe another depending upon how the club approaches the last few games of the year. Having averaged 5.79 innings per start on the year, it will be incumbent on Haren to pitch his way to the option — especially in the midst of a playoff race and backed by a well-stocked bullpen.
- Mike Adams, Phillies: Adams’ $6MM club option for 2015 would have vested with 60 innings pitched in 2014, but he’s obviously not going to get there with just 17 2/3 innings in the tank. Adams has thrown just 42 2/3 innings in his season-and-a-half with the Phils, and it seems highly unlikely that the team will pick him up at $6MM given his injury troubles. He should, however, be an attractive buy-low candidate given his general success when on the field.
- Rafael Soriano, Nationals: Soriano’s $14MM club option vests with 120 games finished over 2013-14. While that always seemed a longshot, any realistic hope was snuffed out when Soriano lost his closing gig to Drew Storen, the man he replaced when he signed on with Washington. Whether or not Soriano makes it back into the 9th inning role over the next few weeks, he now sits at 104 games finished over the last two seasons, making it all but impossible for him to trigger the vesting provision. With the Nationals all but certain to decline their club option on Soriano, he should make for an interesting free agent to watch.
- Kyuji Fujikawa, Cubs: The Cubs hoped that Fujikawa, one of the best relievers in Japanese history, would help to fortify their bullpen when they signed him to a two-year, $9.5MM contract in the 2012-13 offseason. Instead, both player and team received a hefty dose of bad luck when Fujikawa needed Tommy John surgery after just 12 innings last season. He has a vesting option based on games finished, but the 33-year-old has made it back for only 10 1/3 innings in 2014 and surely won’t be crossing that (unreported) threshold.
- Sean Burnett, Angels: Burnett’s $4.5MM club option vests if he appears in a total of 110 games between 2013-14, but like Fujikawa, he’s been plagued by injury and has no chance of that happening. Burnett has appeared in just 16 games total over the past two seasons and underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this year. The Halos will certainly be paying the $500K buyout on his club option.
- Scott Downs, White Sox: Downs had a $4MM vesting option that would have vested with 55 appearances, as MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reported in June (via Twitter). Though he appeared to be headed in that direction earlier in the year, the White Sox cut bait with Downs and his then-6.08 ERA. He owns a 3.55 mark over 12 2/3 innings with the Royals — who signed him to a separate, minor-league deal — and has now thrown in 53 games, but the vesting clause is now a moot point.
Full Story | 18 Comments | Categories: Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Dan Haren | Jimmy Rollins | Kyuji Fujikawa | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Mike Adams | Milwaukee Brewers | Newsstand | Nick Punto | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | Rafael Soriano | Rickie Weeks | Scott Downs | Sean Burnett | Washington Nationals
The state of next year’s free agent class will be impacted by whether or not players with vesting options in their contracts achieve the necessary playing time to trigger those conditional options. Here’s a rundown of these players and their progress toward triggering their options…
- Nick Punto: Punto has a $2.75MM club option that will automatically vest if he spends fewer than 30 days on the disabled list, assistant GM David Forst told reporters at the time of the signing. He did add that there are other ways for Punto’s option to vest, though for the time being, he’s on pace to see his option vest simply due to the fact that he’s avoided the DL entirely. If the option doesn’t vest, the A’s have the choice of picking him up at $2.75MM or buying him out for $250K.
- Rickie Weeks: Weeks has an $11.5MM option that won’t be vesting, as he would need to total 600 PA in 2014 or 1,200 PA in 2013-14 and finish the season healthy. He’s being platooned heavily with Scooter Gennett and has just 112 PAs on the season, so he’ll fall well shy of that mark. Should he reach 400 PAs (which only seems likely in the event of Gennett injury), Weeks would be entitled to a $1MM buyout of his option.
- Jimmy Rollins: Rollins’ option vests if he reaches 600 PA in 2014 or if he totals 1,100 options from 2013-14 and finishes the season on the active roster. He’s 141 PA shy of that combined 1,100 number, meaning he’s highly likely to end up with an $11MM guarantee for 2015.
- Dan Haren: If Haren pitches 180 innings or more in 2014, he triggers a $10MM player option for the 2015 season. He’s averaging just over six innings per start, so he’s on pace to clear that mark given 30-31 starts. However, if he finishes the season anywhere near his current 3.54 ERA, he may prefer to test the open market in search of a multi-year deal.
- Mike Adams: Adams’ $6MM club option for 2015 vests with 60 innings pitched in 2014, but he’s once again on the disabled list for the Phillies and has thrown just 17 innings. Adams has thrown 42 innings in his season-and-a-half with the Phils, and it seems highly unlikely that they would pick him up at $6MM given his injury troubles.
- Rafael Soriano: Soriano’s $14MM club option will vest if he finishes 120 games combined in 2013-14. He’s currently at 81 games finished on the season, meaning he’d need to finish a rather unlikely 39 of his team’s final 92 games (42 percent) this season. Should the option vest, half of his salary will be deferred and paid in annual installments from 2018-25.
- Kyuji Fujikawa: The Cubs hoped that Fujikawa, one of the best relievers in Japanese history, would help to fortify their bullpen when they signed him to a two-year, $9.5MM contract in the 2012-13 offseason. Instead, both player and team received a hefty dose of bad luck when Fujikawa needed Tommy John surgery after just 12 innings last season. He has a vesting option based on games finished, but the 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in 2014 and surely won’t be crossing that threshold.
- Sean Burnett: Burnett’s $4.5MM club option vests if he appears in a total of 110 games between 2013-14, but like Fujikawa, he’s been plagued by injury and has no chance of that happening. Burnett has appeared in just 16 games total over the past two seasons and underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this month. The Halos will certainly be paying the $500K buyout on his club option.
- Scott Downs: Downs has a $4MM vesting option, and while the specifics haven’t been reported, Ken Rosenthal noted at the time of the deal that it would vest were Downs to pitch “a normal workload.” He’s headed in that direction, as he’s on pace for his highest innings total since 2011. Downs has pitched to a 5.48 ERA in his 23 innings, so the White Sox may not wish to see that option vest. Then again, he has a 3.95 ERA dating back to May 3, so he’s shown some signs of improvement.
Full Story | 0 Comments | Categories: Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Dan Haren | Jimmy Rollins | Kyuji Fujikawa | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Mike Adams | Milwaukee Brewers | Nick Punto | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | Rickie Weeks | Scott Downs | Sean Burnett
We’ll keep track of today’s minor transactions here, with the newest moves at the top of the page…
- The Cubs moved right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa to the 60-day disabled list today, creating a 40-man roster spot for Chris Coghlan, the club announced. (Southpaw Zac Rosscup was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Coghlan on the 25-man roster.) Fujikawa underwent Tommy John surgery last June and isn’t expected back on the mound until at least midseason. In making the Cubs’ Major League roster, Coghlan will now earn $800K as per the minor league contract he signed with Chicago in January, and he has another $250K available to him in incentives.
- The Padres have acquired shortstop Benji Gonzalez from the Pirates for cash or a player to be named later, Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. Gonzalez, a seventh-round pick in 2008, hit .232/.314/.294 for Class A+ Bradenton in 2013. The Padres have assigned him to Lake Elsinore, which is at the same level.
- The Reds have signed pitcher Adam Russell to a minor-league deal, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets. The Diamondbacks released Russell in March. In 2013, the 31-year-old posted a 2.37 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 60 2/3 innings for the Orioles’ Triple-A Norfolk affiliate. He has pitched for the White Sox, Padres and Rays, last appearing in the big leagues in 2011.
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer told reporters, including the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan, that right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa will undergo Tommy John surgery (Twitter link). Sullivan adds (also on Twitter) that the injury is not a result of Fujikawa's two-inning appearance over the weekend. Hoyer informed reporters that Fujikawa's elbow popped on one pitch to Cincinnati's Joey Votto.
The 32-year-old Fujikawa was a significant offseason signing for the Cubs. A legendary closer in Japan, he signed a two-year deal worth $9.5MM with a vesting option for the 2015 season. In 12 innings for the Cubs this season, he's allowed seven runs but also fanned 14 against just two walks. The loss of Fujikawa is a significant blow to an already struggling Cubs bullpen.
Manager Dale Sveum told Sullivan that it's too early to worry about who will handle the ninth inning for the Cubs in 2014, but Fujikawa was signed with that role in mind (Twitter link).
The Cubs announced that they have reached an agreement with Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa. The two-year, $9.5MM contract includes a club/vesting option for 2015.
Fujikawa will receive a $1MM signing bonus, $4MM in salary for 2013 and '14, plus a vesting option at $5.5MM or $6MM based on games finished. If the option does not vest, it turns to a $5.5MM club option with a $500K buyout. In total, Fujikawa has a guaranteed $9.5MM when including the buyout.
It was reported last week that Fujikawa was nearing a decision with the Halos in the lead. At least ten teams offered the hurler along the way, including the Dodgers, Orioles, and Diamondbacks. Over the past six seasons with the Hanshin Tigers, the 32-year-old record 202 saves while posting a 1.36 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 12.4 K/9, and 2.3 BB/9 in 369 2/3 innings.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the agreement and the details of the deal. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported the total value of the deal.