Cubs ink Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa to two-year, $9.5 million deal

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UPDATE: Rosenthal reports that Fujikawa is guaranteed $9.5 million as part of his deal with the Cubs. That’s a pretty nice chunk of change for a rebuilding team to give to a closer, especially one who has never pitched in the United States, but the Cubs are obviously confident he can make an impact in the late innings.

Fujikama will receive a $1 million signing bonus and salaries of $4 million for 2013 and 2014. The vesting option for 2015 is worth $5.5 million and could increase to $6 million based on games finished. If the option doesn’t vest, the Cubs hold a $5.5 million club option that can be bought out for $500,000.

4:50 PM: We heard last night that the Angels were considered the front-runners to land Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa. But it turns out he’ll be headed elsewhere.

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs have an agreement in place with Fujikawa. No word yet on the terms involved, but Rosenthal hears that the 32-year-old right-hander will get a two-year deal with a vesting option for a third.

Fujikawa is coming off a dominant run in Japan in which he posted a 1.36 ERA and 202 saves over the past six seasons with the Hanshin Tigers. Armed with a low-90s fastball, a slider and a forkball, he had a 1.32 ERA and 58/15 K/BB ratio over 47 2/3 innings this past season.

Rosenthal notes that Fujikawa will likely be used as the Cubs’ closer, so Carlos Marmol figures to be on the trade block in the coming days and weeks. The 30-year-old right-hander is owed $9.8 million next season and is due to hit free agency next offseason. He was nearly traded to the Angels last month for Dan Haren, but the deal reportedly fell apart due to concerns over Haren’s medicals.

White Sox rookie Nicky Delmonico overcame an Adderall addiction

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There have been a couple of notable instances of players who have dealt with Addrerall addiction in recent years. A few months back we learned that Aubrey Huff suffered from it. Orioles slugger Chris Davis, who has ADD, once had a therapeutic use exemption for Adderall, let it lapse to go off of the drug, but then “in a moment of weakness” returned to it, resulting in a suspension back in 2014.

The latest: White Sox rookie slugger Nicky Delmonico, who has made a splash since his callup, hitting six homers and posting a line of .329/.434/.614 in 20 games. His road here, however, was a difficult one. When he was with the Brewers organization he was suspended for “amphetamine” use. Turns out it was Adderall. And, according to today’s story in the Tribune, it turns out that the circumstances were similar to Davis’:

Delmonico feared the label of drug cheat would impede his path to the majors, his goal since he was a bat boy for the University of Tennessee, where his dad, Rod, coached from 1990-2007. He figured nobody would care to learn the real story; that he became conditioned to taking Adderall, which MLB had approved for medical purposes, but decided to come off the drug before the 2014 season so not to become overly dependent.

“But then I couldn’t not take it,” Delmonico said.

Withdrawal symptoms changed the young man with the infectious personality. His moods swung. Suddenly, Delmonico craved the way he used to feel.

Delmonico was released by the Brewers when he came off suspension and signed by the Sox. They told him to take his time coming back, and as he did, he went to rehab. The rest is history. And just the beginning of history, if his fast start is any indication of how he’ll do in the bigs going forward.

Well done, Delmonico. It’s rare to come back from such adversity, but here’s hoping for your continued success as you enter the prime of your career.

David Wright went 0-for-4 in his rehab debut

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David Wright started at DH and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his rehab debut with High-A St. Lucie last night.

The results are not all that important compared to the fact that Wright actually played in a game. Wright acknowledged as much afterward, saying “There’s still quite a bit to go to where I want to be, but it was a good first step.” Wright said he “felt pretty good,” and that while he’d like to see better results as soon as possible, he’s happy just being out there right now.

Wright is shooting to join the Mets for the final few weeks of the 2017 regular season after being out of action since May of 2016 with back and neck ailments. It’s hard not to root for the guy.