Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa, who the Los Angeles Angels had been targeting in the lead up to baseball's winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn., will reportedly sign instead with the Chicago Cubs, ending Los Angeles's attempts to sign the Hanshin Tigers reliever.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles were also reportedly in the mix, according to a Chicago Sun-TImes report, but Fujikawa selected the Cubs and reportedly signed a two-year, $9.5-million deal to play in Chicago. The deal also reportedly includes a $5-million vesting option for 2015 if the Cubs so choose.
The Cubs took front-runner status in the chase for the skilled closer after the Angels signed reliever Ryan Madson at the end of last week. Fujikawa visited with the Angels in late November.
Fujikawa's 2012 season was a dominating one, as the reliever posted 58 strikeouts and a 1.32 ERA in 47.2 innings pitched. Since 2007, Fujikawa has recorded 202 saves for the Tigers out of the bullpen.