Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The Chicago Cubs have reportedly agreed to a four year deal with Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome ("ko-SUE-kay foo-koo-DOUGH-may") worth somewhere between 48 and 50 million dollars.
If Fukudome plays as advertised, he will provide the Cubs with some much needed stability in the outfield, and the left-handed bat they have been searching for. Scouts have described him as a cross between Ichiro and Matsui, a guy who can hit for power and average. He is considered an above average fielder with a good arm and will most likely find himself in right field whent the season begins.
Twelve million per season for a guy that has never even had an at-bat in the majors may seem like a lot of money, and a big risk. After all, nobody really knows how his game will translate to MLB. However, his numbers in the Japenese league are quite impressive, boasting a .305 average, .397 OBP, and a .543 slugging percentage for his career. If Fukudome can replicate these numbers in MLB, he will be well worth the money and could be a key piece of the puzzle for the Cubs in 2008.
Adding Fukudome certainly solidifies the corner outfield positions for the Cubs, with center field still up in the air. Cubs management continues to be optimistic about Felix Pie who has done little in his few short stints in the majors. However, at only 22 years young, the jury is still out on Pie and he has time to develop into the player the Cubs hope he will be. As spring training approaches we will post previews of both the Cubs and White Sox, so stay tuned!
Monday, December 10, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
On an afternoon where the Bears really could have put themselves in the middle of the wild card chase, the Giants unleashed a fourth quarter come-from-behind victory in what is probably the most frustrating loss for the hometown Bears this season.
The Bears were thoroughly in control of this game for the better part of three quarters. However, the ineptitude of the Bears offense in the second half kept the Giants in the game and begged the defense to bail them out. Although the Bears defense was unable to come up with a stop on the Giants final two drives, it’s hard to fault them after forcing four turnovers and repeatedly handing the ball back to the Bears offense in good field position.
Offensively for the Bears, it was a tale of two halves. The no-huddle seemed to work perfectly in the first half, keeping the giants back on their heels and allowing the bears to march down the field. Grossman was 17-26 for 218 and a TD in the first half along with one HUGE drop by Devin Hester that almost for sure would have gone for an 82 yard TD pass. Imagine seeing Grossman first half numbers looking something like: 18-26 for 300 yards and 2 TD's. That would certainly be an eye-opener for anyone seeing that come across a ticker!
However, the second half was a completely different story as the Bears went away from the no-huddle, Grossman went 8-20 for 78 yards, and the Bears offense was only able to muster 3 points. The Bears seemed to have a completely different offensive scheme in the second half, as they went to a huddle-up offense, a lot of tight formations, and consequently a lot of third and long situations. Penalties and few big losses on sacks also haunted the Bears in the second half and helped to stall several opportunities the Bears had to put the Giants away.
Grossman has certainly thrown the ball a lot better over the past few weeks, but it is still difficult to determine exactly what Ron Turner is trying to do with the offense. The Bears just do not have the personnel at this time to line up in a tight formation and run the ball right at defenses. The most consistent they have looked this year has been recently while in the no-huddle scheme. This scheme has allowed the bears to keep defenses spread out and back on their heels which has even helped to open up some running lanes for Adrian Peterson. It will be interesting to see how Turner decides to attack the Redskins, one sport one of the better defenses in the league.
The loss most likely kills any hope the Bears have at making the playoffs this year and that opens the book for several other issues the Bears will have to address over the off season... probably best to leave those for another post!