We heard earlier this month that free agent Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa was drawing interest from MLB teams. Now he’s beginning the process of finding the right fit stateside.
Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports that Fujikawa has toured the facilities of the Cubs and Diamondbacks over the past week and is expected to visit with the Angels and Dodgers in the near future. The Rangers have scouted Fujikawa, but it’s not known if he’ll meet with them.
Fujikawa has been one of the most dominant closers in Japan for a long time, posting a 1.77 ERA, 11.8 K/9 and 220 saves over 12 seasons with the Hanshin Tigers. Featuring a low-90s fastball, a slider and a forkball in his arsenal, the 32-year-old right-hander had a 1.32 ERA and 58/15 K/BB ratio over 47 2/3 innings this season. Since he’s a free agent, he will not be subject to the posting process.
The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.
Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.
Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.
Ervin Santana will once again start on Opening Day for the Twins, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports. He’ll face the Royals at home in a day game on Monday, April 3.
The last pitcher to start back-to-back Opening Days for the Twins was Carl Pavano in 2011-12.
Santana, 34, is entering the third year of a four-year, $55 million contract signed in December 2014. Last season, the right-hander finished with a solid 3.38 ERA and a 149/53 K/BB ratio over 181 1/3 innings.