Rumor Mill: Fujikawa Down To Five, Otani Meeting With Fighters, Kuroda Off The Market

Didn’t realize it until I was done typing it up, but this is an exclusively Japanese player rumor update.

Anyway, Kyuji Fujikawa is reportedly down to five teams, with one of them being the Dodgers.

Fujikawa has reportedly met with the Dodgers, Angels, Orioles, Cubs and Diamondbacks. The Rangers are also said to have interest in the 32-year-old, who has been Japan’s best closer for the past several years. He is reportedly looking for a multiyear deal on his first foray into Major League Baseball. Because he is a free agent, interested teams are not required to go through the posting process with Fujikawa.

The Dodgers earlier “interest” has now been specified to “finalist” as they look to add even more dynamite to a bullpen with boom or bust potential.

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According to Nikkan Sports, Shohei Otani is meeting with the Nippon Ham Fighters, and one of the team’s pitches to him is letting him hit as well as pitch.

Basically, the team’s General Manager said that he can be a pioneer in Japanese baseball, as attempting such a dual role in the MLB is not possible. Also, they’ve scheduled another meeting for next week.

So I guess the gist of it is that they are willing to let him do whatever he wants if he’ll sign with them.

I wouldn’t read too much into it, but he has gone from completely dismissing any notion of staying in Japan to meeting with the team regularly, so there has to be more concern than there was on draft day.

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Those dreams of signing Hiroki Kuroda have now ended, even if the Dodgers and Angels were allegedly the preferred destinations for him, as the Yankees have re-signed the starter for a year.

The Yankees have retained their most consistent starter from 2012 as the club has announced that it has re-signed Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year contract. ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that Kuroda’s contract is worth $15MM (plus incentives worth less than $1MM) and was the first to break the news that Kuroda had agreed to terms with New York (Twitter links). Kuroda is represented by the Octagon agency.

Obviously Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, and Hyun Jin Ryu are still very much in play for the Dodgers.

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