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Cubs Decline Option On Kyuji Fujikawa

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This isn't really unexpected news, but it happened today, so here's an article about it.

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Via Bruce Miles:

This move should come as a surprise to no one. Kyuji Fujikawa started out all right in 2013 (no runs in his first two appearances), but then was hit hard, got injured and required Tommy John surgery, which kept him out of action for more than a year. When he returned, his velocity was down and his performance uneven.

The option was for $5.5 million; the Cubs owe Fujikawa a $500,000 buyout. His two years in a Cubs uniform produced 27 appearances with 25 innings pitched, a 5.04 ERA and 1.480 WHIP, with eight walks and 31 strikeouts and two saves. I can't say that any of his appearances were memorable in any way. He was signed after a stellar career in Japan in which he posted 224 saves and a 1.77 ERA in 12 seasons, all with the Hanshin Tigers.

It's not beyond the realm of possibility that the Cubs could invite Fujikawa to spring training on a NRI; he's 34 and, now that he's one full season past TJ surgery, could perhaps be a complementary part of an improved bullpen. After all, Koji Uehara, a similar talent from Japan, had his best MLB seasons after age 37.

As noted by Bruce Miles, the Cubs' 40-man roster now stands at 35. There's one more contract option that has to be either exercised or declined, although there's some question about exactly what that option is -- the one for Tsuyoshi Wada.