Shintaro Fujinami may be the biggest wild card in the free agent market. The Oakland A’s are intrigued by his potential.
According to Yahoo Japan, the A’s are one of several teams interested in Fujinami. Yahoo Japan further reports that the A’s have offered Fujinami a one year deal with a team option for 2024.
Shintaro Fujinami an interesting option for Oakland A’s
There was a time when Fujinami had been considered one of the top pitching prospects in Japan, the equal of Shohei Ohtani on the mound. However, he began battling his command to the point where he was virtually unuseable, ruining what had appeared to be a bright future. Not only did Fujinami have to fight the yips, but he also had a manager who undercut his confidence at every step. It was a recipe for disaster.
Yet Fujinami was able to find his way back. He began to get his arsenal under control once more and was a solid arm for the Hanshin Tigers last year. He posted a 3.38 ERA and a 1.185 WHiP over his 66.2 innings, striking out 65 batters with just 21 walks. Considering that Fujinami had walked 40 batters in 48.1 NPB innings in 2021, that turnaround was remarkable.
Fujinami’s role stateside would be a matter of conjecture. He had primarily worked as a starter in Japan, but may be better suited to a bullpen role due to his history of command issues. His arsenal – an upper 90s fastball with a solid splitter and slider – would play up in that sort of role, even if he may be a tightrope act until proven otherwise.
He would be well worth the gamble for the A’s. If his rediscovered command continues, he could be a bargain and a controllable asset as they look to find pieces for their next contending roster. But it is a matter of bringing him on board and making certain his command issues are a thing of the past.
The Oakland A’s have reportedly offered Shintaro Fujinami a one year deal with a team option for 2024. He could be a bargain regardless of his role.