After signing Kyuji Fujikawa to a two-year, $9.5 million deal the Cubs introduced the Japanese reliever in a press conference at Wrigley Field today, during which general manager Jed Hoyer said that Carlos Marmol remains the team’s closer.
That puts Fujikawa in a setup role after he saved 202 games in six seasons as a full-time closer in Japan, but considering the Cubs basically told Marmol that they’re shopping him as recently as last week Chicago’s bullpen hierarchy could obviously change in a hurry.
Marmol was nearly dealt to the Angels for Dan Haren last month before Haren’s health issues squashed the trade and clearly the Cubs are willing to part with the strikeout-and-walk machine with one season and $9.8 million remaining on his contract.
(Carrie Muskat of MLB.com snapped that photo of Fujikawa at the press conference).
Sure, spring training games don’t count toward anything “real,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy Angels’ star pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani mowing down his first big league competitors.
On Saturday, Ohtani took the mound against the Brewers for his first official outing in an Angels uniform. After allowing a leadoff double to Jonathan Villar, the 23-year-old righty settled down and issued a three-pitch strikeout to Nate Orf, his first of the spring.
It wasn’t the cleanest inning for the right-hander: the Brewers plated their first run on a walk, wild pitch and subsequent throwing error by catcher Martin Maldonado. Ohtani didn’t let things unravel further, however, and induced a pop-up for the second out before catching Brett Phillips looking on a called strike three to end the inning.
While the two-way phenom only lasted another two batters (a Keon Broxton dinger finished him off in the second), he’s already started to look like a formidable presence on the mound. Time will tell whether he can deliver at the plate as well — rumor has it he could feature in the Angels’ lineup as soon as Monday.