Cub Trade Rumors: Japanese Pitcher Close To Joining Chicago?
Chicago president of baseball operations Theo Epstein can make a big splash by bringing in Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa. Reuters

While the Cubs have focused most of their efforts on starting pitching this offseason, Chicago may also look to bolster their bullpen this winter with right-handed Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa.

The 32-year-old of the Hanshin Tigers, who has a career 220 saves, has narrowed his interest to the Cubs, Los Angeles Angels, and the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Known for his supreme power, Fujikawa would aide a Chicago bullpen that posted a 4.49 earned-run average, 19-25 record, and had the lowest number of saves, 28, in the league. Fujikawa has the fifth-most career saves in Japanese baseball history, but could be used as a set-up man rather than a closer.

He’s already toured the Cubs facilities, and since he opted for free agency for the first time in his career, Chicago won’t have to put up millions just to negotiate a contract.

Fujikawa has been clocked as high as 97 mph, and had a 1.32 ERA in 47 2/3 innings this past season.