Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cubs Sign Fukudome

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!

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