After agreeing to terms with Japanese right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa on a two-year, $9.5 million contract over the weekend, the Cubs plan to introduce him to the media tomorrow morning at Wrigley Field.
Fujikawa, 32, will receive a $1 million signing bonus and salaries of $4 million for 2013 and 2014. His contract includes a vesting option for a third year at $5.5 million that can increase to $6 million based on games finished.
Mostly relying on a fastball/splitter combo, Fujikawa had a 1.77 ERA and 220 saves over 12 seasons with the Hanshin Tigers. While he was a dominant closer during his time in Japan, he currently projects to open 2013 as a set-up man. Of course, that could change if the Cubs find a suitor for Carlos Marmol. At the very least, Marmol’s margin for error just got a lot smaller.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.