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Baltimore Orioles get jump start on trade deadline shoring up bullpen with acquisition of Oakland Athletics’ Shintaro Fujinami

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Photo credit:Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
8 months ago
As the trade market starts to heat up ahead of the August 1st MLB trade deadline, the first AL East has made an acquisition: the Baltimore Orioles.
They picked up Oakland Athletics starter-turned-reliever Shintaro Fujinami Wednesday night in exchange for minor league reliever Easton Lucas.
Fujinami, 29, is in his first season of MLB action after spending his career up to this year pitching for Japan’s Hanshin Tigers. So far, the big leagues have not been kind to him in the 49.1 innings he’s thrown allowing an 8.57 ERA and 1.662 WHIP across seven starts and 34 appearances. He’s struggled finding the zone allowing a 5.5 BB/9, but has been effective when he can with a solid 9.3 K/9.
Despite having seven pitches in his arsenal, he’s largely limited it to three this season: a four-seam fastball (55.7 percent), split-finger (20 percent) and a cutter (16.2 percent). Rarely, he’s mixed in a sweeper (5.2 percent) and slider (2.1 percent), and has thrown six sinkers and one curveball this season.
While Fujinami’s numbers are not kind, he started this year in the A’s rotation, but after an April move to the bullpen, his numbers have drastically improved.
As noted by The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, the move is one to likely help sure up the O’s bullpen:
The Orioles filled the former with the addition of Fujinami, who will be part of their bullpen as an option prior to All-Star late-inning closer Félix Bautista and setup man Yennier Cano. While Fujinami struggled mightily to start the season, skewing his numbers, he has a 2.25 ERA in seven July appearances and has seemingly found his groove in relief. With the O’s he will be more of a fifth- or sixth-inning guy. Baltimore, with a loaded farm system, will presumably now turn its attention to the starting pitching market ahead of the trade deadline.
Lucas, meanwhile, is a system acquisition for the A’s, who are well on pace for a 100-loss season. He’s a lefty reliever who thrown 29 and 2/3rd innings across 20 AA and AAA appearances this season with a 2.73 ERA.

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Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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