The Arizona Diamondbacks could bring in the biggest question mark in free agency.
According to Yahoo Japan, several teams are interested in Shintaro Fujinami. Of those teams, the Diamondbacks have emerged as one of the favorites to land his services.
Shintaro Fujinami intriguing option for Arizona Diamondbacks
Fujinami may be the ultimate wild card on the market. He has the stuff to be a solid major league option, with a fastball that sits in the mid 90s, a slider, and a splitter. The biggest problem is his command, something that had completely deserted him for several years before he was able to overcome the yips and return to form.
Even then, the Hanshin Tigers did not seem to trust him. He bounced between the Tigers and their minor league affiliate, another mark against how management failed to help his development. However, he did well in his time in NPB last season, posting a 3.38 ERA and a 1.185 WHiP over his 66.1 innings, striking out 65 batters with 21 walks. While he may no longer be that pitcher who battled Shohei Ohtani as Japan’s best pitching prospect, he could be a solid major league option.
The question will be his future role. While Fujinami has typically been used as a starter in Japan, his command issues make a candidate for the bullpen. That may ultimately be his role stateside, something that would also limit how much the Tigers receive as their posting fee as teams may not be willing to spend as much for his services.
The uncertainty as to Fujinami’s role moving forward could actually help the Diamondbacks. They are looking for pieces in both their rotation and bullpen, making Fujinami a particularly intriguing option. He could get a chance to start in Arizona if he can prove that his command issues are a thing of the past.
Shintaro Fujinami is starting to generate interest from major league teams. The Arizona Diamondbacks may be the favorites for his services.