I have no doubt that the Chicago Cubs will grow tired of the already annoying drama that surrounds the club’s closer Carlos Marmol. Now, the Cubs signed Kyuji Fujikawa this offseason to a two year deal worth $9.5M to set-up Marmol, but I think he will soon become the team’s closer.
Fujikawa has never pitched in the MLB, however he has spent ample time in Japan where he became a hot commodity this Summer. Had Marmol been more healthy he would be in the Los Angeles Angels uniform this Spring Training as a deal was in place this Winter–Dan Haren would’ve been sent to the Cubs had the trade gone through.
Manager Dale Sveum is entering his second season and he hasn’t shied away from controversy during his brief tenure. Last year Starlin Castro was benched on multiple occasions for lackluster effort in the field and the inability to sprint to first base out of the batters box. With Castro being another year older I think Sveum should focus more on the back-end of the bullpen and the saga that is around Marmol.
Although the Cubs have a few pieces in Anthony Rizzo, Jeff Samardzija, and Castro they still lack the depth to win an NL Central this year. In my mind they need to see what they have in Fujikawa before it’s too late. Marmol will open the season as the closer, however if he scuffles out of the gate don’t be surprised if Sveum goes to Fujikawa as early as May.
Last season the Cubs had a revolving door at closer later on in the season but, maybe the 32-year-old Fujikawa can give the bullpen a much needed spark in 2013.