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.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.