• Baseball

Japanese LHP Shota Imanaga Signing with Cubs

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Baseball – World Baseball Classic – Pool B games – Japan v South Korea – Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan – March 10, 2023 Japan’s Shota Imanaga in action

The Chicago Cubs have agreed to a deal with Japanese left-handed pitcher Shota Imanaga, USA Today and MLB Network reported Tuesday.

The deal is pending a physical, to be conducted Thursday, according to USA Today. Terms were not yet known.

Imanaga, 30, was among the most sought-after international free agents after Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Korean outfielder Jung Hoo Lee signed with the San Francisco Giants.

Imanaga was posted by the Yokohama DeNA BayStars. He played in Nippon Professional Baseball for eight years. He had a career ERA of 3.18 and 1,021 strikeouts over 1,002 2/3 innings.

Last March, Imanaga was the winning pitcher for Japan in the World Baseball Classic championship game against the American team.

It marks the Cubs’ first big splash of the offseason. They finished second in the National League Central last season at 83-79 but missed the playoffs. They hired Craig Counsell to replace David Ross as manager.

Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Japan starting pitcher Shota Imanaga (21) pitches against the USA in the first inning at LoanDepot Park.