The pursuit of relief help could take the Angels to the Pacific Rim, with General Manager Jerry Dipoto confirming on Thursday that there is a mutual interest between the team and free-agent closer Kyuji Fujikawa.
“There’s an attraction there for the player and for us,” Dipoto said of Fujikawa, who has expressed a desire to play on the West Coast. “I’ve seen him pitch quite a bit through the years. I have a lot of information on him, and he’s been on the world landscape, pitching in the World Baseball Classic.”
Fujikawa, 32, has been Japan’s top reliever for the past five or six years, going 3-3 with a 1.24 earned-run average and 41 saves in 56 games for the Hanshin Tigers last season. The right-hander mixes his fastball, which he throws in the 93-mph range, with a split-fingered fastball and slider.
Because Fujikawa, who pitched for Japan’s WBC team in 2006 and 2009, has played 10 years in Japan, major league teams do not have to go through the often expensive posting system to acquire him.