It was previously thought that the Angels were the front-runners for acquiring the Japanese closer.
Fujikawa should fill in nicely as the Cubs' closer for the 2013 season. In the last six seasons spent across the Pacific, Fujikawa has accumulated a total of 202 saves and pitched to the tune of a minuscule 1.36 ERA. How that translates in the big leagues is yet to be seen, but it is very promising.
Theo Epstein has stated that if there were sound investments available, the Cubs would be not be afraid to spend money this offseason. To that end, he seems to be keeping his word. He has already made moves to improve the starting rotation, and now he has taken strides to improve the bullpen.
So, does the signing of Fujikawa mark the end of Carlos Marmol in a Cubs uniform?
Marmol has served as the Cubs' closer the past few seasons, but it certainly seems like the Cubs are ready to move in another direction. Marmol's fate with the team was all but sealed once the team tried to include him in a deal to bring Dan Haren to Chicago.
Now his future is almost definitely with another team. It should be an interesting week coming up with Winter Meetings kicking off on Monday, as the team will surely be trying to move Marmol. He and Alfonso Soriano should be at the center of any trade talks for the Cubs next week.
With some of the moves we have already seen this offseason, the Cubs seem determined to improve on their 101-loss season in 2012.