The Texas Rangers are about to finalize a deal with reliever Kyuji Fujikawa, pending physical. This comes shortly after the MLB Winter Meetings in San Diego last week and after a flurry of moves happened prior to the meetings. Last season the Rangers started making waves in the Hot Stove season with the blockbuster trade of Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder and later with the acquisition of Shin-Shoo Choo.
But, this season the moves are barely enough to register as ripple in the water. The Rangers do need more pitchers and signing Kyuji Fujikawa will help the bullpen next season. He’ll likely be someone the Rangers will use around the 7th inning, which could mean the Texas Rangers won’t bring back Neal Cotts.
Fujikawa was regarded as one of the best relievers in Japan, but after signing with the Cubs he only pitched for about 2 months before going on the disabled list and later had Tommy John surgery. He came back during the second half of the 2014 season and managed to pitcher in 15 relief appearances with a 4.85 ERA over 13 innings.
During his last season in Japan he had a record of 2-2, 24 saves with a 1.32 ERA over 48 games/47.2. The last time he had an ERA over 4 was during his rookie year when he was 19 years old with an ERA of 4.76.
He looks to have potential in the pen for the Rangers, which is something the Rangers need next season. Last season the Rangers relievers combined for a 4.51 ERA, which was actually better than it was during the All-star break. The Rangers relievers managed to finish their last 59 games with a 3.18 ERA.
Video: 08/20/14 Fujikawa’s strong relief outing
Kyuji Fujikawa fans three while giving up two hits in two strong innings of relief for the Cubs