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Japanese left-hander Shota Imonaga agrees with Cubs

The Cubs made their first impactful move this winter, agreeing to hold Japanese left-hander Shota Imonaga pending a physical, sources told MLB Network reporter Jon Paul Morosi on Tuesday night.

Chicago North didn’t make any moves this offseason other than hire Craig Counsell as head coach, but with the addition of Imonaga, they’ve added a luxury starter to the rotation.

Imonaga was placed in the lower post system by the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, which allowed him to pursue major league opportunities after playing eight seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball.

While Imonaga isn’t as high-profile as his compatriot Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the 30-year-old left-hander is a solid pitcher in his own right and is expected to be a second or third starter in the majors.

Imonaga has a 3.18 ERA in 1,002.2 career innings in Japan using a four-pitch combination of fastball, pitcher, slider and curveball.

Imonaga was a hit with Major League Baseball fans when he played for the National Team in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. In the group stage against South Korea and the quarterfinals against Italy, Imaga started and won the team’s decisive game against the United States.

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