The Chicago Cubs are on the verge of making decisions that will impact the long-term future of the organization. Among the things that will be discussed next week when general manager Jim Hendry meets with his top scouts will be who the Cubs plan on trading and what they can get for said player. It is no secret that the Cubs are hoping that they will be able to trade the likes of Carlos Zambrano, Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome, and Alfonso Soriano. Though, it is more likely that the Cubs will only be able to trade Fukudome or Ramirez out of that group of players. However, seeing that Ramirez is unwilling to waive his no trade clause it makes the chances of the Cubs trading him slim to none.
With that said, outfielder Kosuke Fukudome may be the Cubs best asset in regards to what players the Cubs can trade this season.
Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times reports that contending teams are beginning to put out “feeler interest” in Fukudome. Despite the usual negative spin the Sun Times tries to put on the story, there is reason to be optimistic that the Cubs will be able to trade Fukudome this season. As we all know the Cubs have tried to trade Fukudome in each of the past two seasons, but have been unsuccessful. However, this season for Fukudome is much different than his previous seasons with the Cubs. Fukudome is on pace to have the best season of his major league career. Fukudome is hitting .291/.400/.404/.804 this season and has enjoyed most of success this season as the Cubs’ leadoff hitter. Fukudome’s
sustained first half success this season has created the opportunity for a market to develop for Fukudome.
Unlike most of the players on the Cubs roster, Fukudome should not be too difficult for the Cubs to trade. The only hurdles that stand in the way of trading Fukudome are his limited no trade clause and the remaining money left on his contract. The list of teams Fukudome can not be traded to is not known at this point, but, that should not interfere with Cubs ability to trade the $48MM import from Japan. Fukduome is owed $6.8MM for the rest of the season, and then is a free agent this winter. The Cubs will still have to eat a portion of his remaining salary, though, they should be able net a decent prospect in return for Fukudome.
Fukudome may be the first domino to fall in what will likely be an eventful three or four weeks leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.