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‘Bombing ERA a whopping 7.18’ Otani rival’s return to Japan unsuccessful, Boras “2-3 clubs offered”

Shintaro Fujinami (29) will not be returning to Japan.

Japan’s Daily Sports reported on July 7 (KST), “Fujinami has received offers from multiple clubs. He will not return to Japan.”

Fujinami’s agent is Scott Boras. “He has received offers from two or three clubs,” he said in an interview, adding, “I only talk about major contracts. Fujinami’s demand from clubs is high,” he said in an interview, dismissing a return to Japan.

Fujinami was a rival of Shohei Ohtani in high school. He is a pitcher who relies on a fastball that reaches up to 162 km/h and a forkball with a large drop. 보스토토

Drafted by Hanshin in the first round of the 2013 Nippon Professional Baseball Draft, Fujinami began his professional career as an “ace,” racking up double-digit wins in each of his first three seasons. In 2015, he had a career-high season, going 14-7 with a 2.40 ERA in 28 games.

From there, it was downhill, with six consecutive years of pay cuts. It was his pitches that held him back. A confluence of events, including poor pitching, led to a downward spiral from the 2016 season, and he didn’t reach 10 wins until 2022. His NPB career record is 57-54 with 11 shutouts and a 3.41 ERA. 

After the 2022 season, he expressed his desire to play in the major leagues and tried his hand at the American game in the postseason, signing a one-year deal with the Oakland Athletics. The salary was $3.25 million (approximately 4.3 billion won). Compared to other Japanese players’ big league debuts, this is a modest contract.

His first year in the majors was not a smooth one. He started seven games for Oakland, but struggled, losing six and posting a 14.26 ERA. Things got better when he switched to the bullpen. In 57 games, he went 7-2 with a 5.14 ERA and two saves. He was traded midseason to the Baltimore Orioles, where he went 2-2 with two saves and a 4.85 ERA in 30 games, winning a district title and enjoying fall ball. In 64 games this season, he went 7-8 with five saves and a 7.18 ERA.

After the season, Fujinami’s one-year contract ended and he became a free agent. He is once again looking for a new team. For now, there are teams interested in Fujinami.

According to Nikkan Sports, “He is evaluated as a bullpen pitcher and is expected to sign a contract. It is still unclear whether it will be a multi-year contract or not, but Boras said he is ‘looking for a top contract’.”

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