As first reported by Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have made a change at closer.
Kyuji Fujikawa, who was signed to a two-year, $9.5 million free agent contract this winter after spending the last 12 seasons in Japan, will be Chicago’s new ninth-inning man. He struggled mightily in Saturday night’s late loss to the Braves, allowing three earned runs in the eighth inning, but the Cubs still feel that he will be a big upgrade over Carlos Marmol.
Marmol has surrendered six hits, two walks and five earned runs over 1 2/3 innings this season. He will serve as a mop-up man until he gets himself right.
If Fujikawa can’t cut it, the Cubs will probably try either Shawn Camp or James Russell next.
Free agent reliever Bryan Shaw has received two multiyear offers, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The teams in question have not been revealed, but the demand for Shaw is expected to be high as he comes off of a career-best season.
The 30-year-old right-hander went 4-6 in 79 appearances for the Indians, drawing a 3.52 ERA, 2.6 BB/9 and 8.6 SO/9 in 76 2/3 innings. He ranked 12th among qualified relievers with 1.6 fWAR, his highest mark to date, and proved instrumental in helping the club reach their second consecutive division title in 2017.
The Mets are the last known team to show interest in Shaw, as the New York Post’s Mike Puma reported Wednesday. Nothing has been officially confirmed by the club yet, naturally, but they could still use a couple of arms to round out the bullpen behind Jerry Blevins, AJ Ramos and Jeurys Familia and it’s worth noting that the right-hander has already worked closely with Mets’ skipper and former Indians’ pitching coach Mickey Callaway. While Shaw’s proven consistency and durability should appeal to a wide variety of teams, he’s due for a big payday after making just $4.6 million in his last year with the Indians.