The Cubs just named Kyuji Fujikawa as their closer last Sunday, but they’ll now have to go back to the drawing board for the ninth inning.
According to Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago, Fujikawa has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a muscle sprain in his right forearm. Rafael Dolis has been called up to take his place in the Cubs’ bullpen.
It’s not clear how long Fujikawa has been pitching through the injury, but it provides some context for his early hiccups. The 32-year-old right-hander allowed three runs on three hits in a blown save against the Giants yesterday and also gave up three runs in an appearance against the Braves last Saturday.
Rogers notes that the Cubs will use a closer-by-committee approach in Fujikawa’s absence, but Carlos Marmol is not expected to be a part of it. This means that right-hander Shawn Camp and left-hander James Russell will likely get most of the save chances.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.
Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.
Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.
Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”