Found November 20, 2012 on
When Major League Baseball teams look for their next dominant shut-down closer, they look far and long for the next shut-down dominant closer. They often come from other teams, or converted set-up relievers or the minor leagues. Sometimes, they will try out former starters and turn them into closer, with that producing a mixed bag of results. But this offseason, at least a half dozen teams are looking to Japan to find their next closer.
Kyuji Fujikawa has been the most dominant closer in Japanese for the past six years. Simply put, he is the Mariano Rivera of Japanese baseball. Fujikawa is 32-years-old, but his stuff is fantastic. He has never had an ERA higher than 2.01, and he has struck out more than 900 batters in a little over 700 innings while pitching in Japan for his career. He has never had an ERA higher than 2.01, and he has racked up 914 strikeouts in 703 career innings in Japan. has drawn interest from at least six teams already this offseason, including the Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers.
Signing pitchers or hitters from Japan has often been a craps shoot for MLB teams. Some have performed well, while others have been complete busts. But one thing that could make Fujikawa more attractive than some of the other big signings from Japan is that he will not cost as much.
It is not from a salary aspect, as no numbers have thrown around, at least not publicly. But since Fujikawa has pitched for 10 years in Japan, MLB teams do not have to go through the posting process, where they have to submit bids high enough simply to win the rights to negotiate with the player as well as his former team.
Fujikawa has pitched for Japan in the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009, so he has face MLB hitting. In four innings pitched in the 2009 WBC, Fujikawa did not allow any runs.
The post MLB Rumors: Which MLB Team Could Sign The Mariano Rivera Of Japanese Baseball? appeared first on Hardball Chat Baseball Blog.
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