MLB rumors: Angels interested in Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

The Angels may look to one of Japan's best pitchers to strengthen their bullpen.

"There's an attraction there for the player and for us." That's what Los Angeles Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto said of Kyuji Fujikawa as he confirmed the club's interest in acquiring the Japanese closer.

Fujikawa posted 41 saves in 56 appearances with an ERA of 1.24 last season, and has apparently expressed some interest in playing on the West Coast. In 345 career games with the Hanshin Tigers, the 32 year old had 202 saves in 345 games while posting a 1.36 ERA.

Unlike Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka, the free agent Fujikawa would not have to go through the expensive posting system commonly used when Japanese players leave to play for a Major League team.

Dipoto is very familiar with the right-handed closer, as he scouted in Japan for up to 30 days per year for the Arizona Diamondbacks between 2006-11. Fujikawa's repertoire consists of a 93-mile-per-hour fastball packaged with a split-finger fastball and a slider. He is expected to also draw interest from the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox.

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