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Cubs Fri Jul 29 2011

Sayonara, Kosuke Fukudome

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for cubs.gifAs this abysmal Cubs season drudges on, Kosuke Fukudome became the first casualty. It seemed almost inevitable as the Cubs continue to slide further into the cellar. Fukudome never really lived up to the hype that surrounded him upon his arrival to the Northside in 2008. Thursday the Cubs dealt him to the Cleveland Indians for pair of prospects.

This appears to be the first of what should be several moves by the Cubs as they begin to cut big money contracts from their payroll. There is speculation that Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez will be dealt at some point. If and when it happens we'll discuss, but for the mean time lets take a look at what the Cubs gave up and got in return for Fukudome.

Fukudome was promoted as a cross between countrymen Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki. His best day as a Cub was his first, Opening Day in 2008, as he went 3-for-3 with a double and a game-tying three-run homer against the Milwaukee Brewers. Over the course of his stint with the Cubs he seemed to play his best baseball in April and May, then subsequently fall off the face of the earth for the remainder of the season.

The Cubs were expecting a power hitter in Fukudome, but that never seemed to materialize. His best assets were getting on base and playing solid defense in the outfield. Both of which the Cubs will miss. His numbers were down dramatically this year. Especially in the home run and RBI department, however on the flip side his average is up. At .273 it is the best of his major-league career. Perhaps a change of scenery will benefit him.

Now on to the minor-leaguers the Cubs got out of this deal: outfielder Abner Abreu and reliever Carlton Smith. Rather than pretend to know anything about these two I'll leave that up to ESPN's Keith Law (subscription required):

Abreu is at least an interesting lottery ticket, sporting awful plate discipline, but good bat speed and some power when he gets his arms extended. He's just 21 and is already repeating high Class A, so he's been moved aggressively, but has also shown very little development in his ability to recognize balls from strikes -- and the Cubs have not had success in teaching impatient hitters how to work the count. Smith is a situational right-hander who has given up a .292/.395/.508 line to left-handed hitters this year and might get a few cups of coffee if all goes well.

Nothing too spectacular, but the Cubs didn't get fleeced either. However, they weren't in any kind of position to be demanding too much in return. From what I've heard on various sports radio shows in town is that Abreu is still young and could be a gem if he is able to put it together in the minors. Smith on the other hand may crack the big leagues this season, but don't count on him being in the Cubs plans long-term.

If the Cubs continue on their current course, expect more trades before Sunday's deadline. Hopefully any potential deal will benefit them in the long run and bring them back into contention. It is definitely going to be an interesting weekend for the Cubs and their fans.

 
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