Cubs Say Sayonara To Kosuke Fukudome

In the wake of two outfielders being traded yesterday, the Cubs have decided to trade one of their own outfielders. As has been reported for most of this week, the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians have been in discussions regarding a trade involving the Cubs right fielder Kosuke Fukudome. Which is why it should come to no surprise that the Cubs and Indians have agreed on a trade that will send Fukudome to Cleveland.

The two teams came to an agreement this morning; The Cubs will send Fukudome and cash considerations to the Indians for two minor-leaguers. The Cubs will be picking most of the remaining $4.7 million on Fukudome’s contract, as that is what allowed them to receive two prospects in exchange for the foreign outfielder.

It is safe to say that Fukudome never lived up to the Cubs’ expectations after signing a four year, $48 million contract with the Cubs after the 2007 season. The knock on Fukudome has been that he is unable to string together a full season of consistent play. In each of his first three seasons there was a considerable drop-off from his first half production to his second half production. That appears to be same case for this season as well. Fukudome started the season hitting .383/.486/.400/.886 in April, however since then, his production has been on the decline. Fukudome hit: .247/.389/.342/.731 in May, .229/.315/.385/.700 in June, and .266/.329/.344/.673 in July.

There now is an opening in right field for Tyler Colvin. Colvin is already in Milwaukee with the Cubs, and will take the place of Fukudome on the roster if the trade in announced before game-time. While some fans may have wanted to see top prospect Brett Jackson take the place of Fukudome in right field, Colvin makes more sense. For one, Jackson is just now starting to breakout of a 1-for-25 slump with the Iowa Cubs. Jackson is hitting .204/.298/.367/.666 with the Iowa Cubs since being promoted from Tennessee. Meanwhile, Colvin has been with the Iowa Cubs for most of the past two months. Colvin was hitting .256/.270/.478/.748 to go along with 7 home runs during his time with the Iowa Cubs.

Colvin will be given the opportunity he should have received to begin the 2011 season, which is to be an everyday player at the major league level. Colvin’s struggles at the major league level this season has been well-documented as he he was hitting .105/.175/.211/.385 in 38 games with the Cubs this season. Though, the issue was that Colvin was used mostly as a pinch-hitter. As we discovered earlier this season, in order for Colvin to be productive at the major league level, he needs to be in the lineup everyday and not used sparingly as a pinch hitter. Now, Colvin will be a full-time starter in right field and be given the chance to prove that he is indeed the run producer that the Cubs hope he can be. The Cubs envision Colvin, Jackson, as well as Matt Szczur as their future outfield trio.

In exchange for Fukudome, the Cubs received Triple-A pitcher Carlton Smith and High-A right fielder Abner Abreu. Abreu was the key for the Cubs in the deal. His raw power but high k-percentage and low on base percentage has drawn comparisons to Willy Mo Pena. Though at age 21, Abreu still has a high ceiling. Smith, on the other hand, is a career minor leaguer. After struggling as a starting pitcher for most of his professional career, Smith has found some success as a reliever this season with the Indians Triple-A affiliate. The return of Smith and Abreu was the general expectation for what the Cubs would receive for Fukudome.

The Cubs do not plan on stopping after the Fukudome trade. In addition to trying push Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano on any team that is interested, they also have been receiving a lot of calls on center fielder Marlon Byrd. Fukudome could very well be the first domino to fall in what is likely going to be an eventful 5 weeks for the Cubs leading up to September.

 

 

Topics: Bret Jackson, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, Kosuke Fukudome, Tyler Colvin

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  • Luke Blaize

    As of now, the prospects appear to be AAA LHRP Carlton Smith, and A+ RF Abner Abreu.

    Smith is 25 and is averaging a strikeout an inning. He has appeared in both long and short relief roles for the Indians AAA club, and he show signs of control issues. With runners on base his numbers take a sharp turn for the worse, and while his K/9 is great, his BB/9 and H/9 are not so good. Still, lefty relievers are nice to have in the system since left handed pitching is the coin of the realm across the minor leagues. He may get a cup of coffee with the Cubs at some point this season, and he will no doubt have a chance to earn a bullpen job in spring training, but I don’t think we should expect anything great from Smith.

    Abner Abreu, on the other hand, is intriguing. He’s similar to Michael Burgess in a lot of ways. He’s 21, a right handed hitter, at 6.3″ is a fairly big guy, and he has power. He also has strikeouts and problems making consistent contact. Opinions on this guy are all over the map. Baseball America did not have him in Cleveland’s Top 30, but other websites have had him as high as #5. If Abreu can tame his swing, start working the count, and make consistent contact, he as the power and the defense to be an everyday player in the majors… and possibly a star. If he can’t, he’ll never make it out of Double A. He’s only 21, though, and I like the risk. He already shows signs of improving at the plate in the second half of this season, and the Cubs staff in Daytona have had some success working with Burgess and Junior Lake (who had similar strikeout issues). There is plenty of time for Abreu to figure things out. He is no sure bet, but I think he is a gamble well worth taking.

  • Luke Blaize

    By the way, those prospects are not official yet, nor final. We’ll let you know when anything is finalized.

  • JordanC

    It has been confirmed that both Smith and Abreu are indeed the players the Cubs will be receiving.

  • Luke Blaize

    @JordanC I assume Smith will go to Iowa and Abreu to Daytona. We might see an outfielder in Daytona be promoted to Tennessee to help free up some at bats for Abreu, though. Crawford or Burgess would be my guess, but the Cubs may decide to challenge Szczur.

    The Cubs may also wait to tune their minor league rosters until this weekend. If Pena goes, a couple more guys should be arriving.

  • Ashley Bolton

    Could we see Smith at some time this season in the bullpen? Can Abreu play all outfield postions? What is you all’s overall opinion of this trade? Do we see Z and Pena get traded now too?

  • JordanC

    The Cubs are going everything they can to trade Zambrano before Sunday. They are willing to take on most of his salary and are just looking for a taker. I wouldn’t rule out the Yankees despite their rash of denils, also keep an eye on the Red Sox or Tigers

  • Luke Blaize

    As of now, the prospects appear to be AAA LHRP Carlton Smith, and A+ RF Abner Abreu.

    Smith is 25 and is averaging a strikeout an inning. He has appeared in both long and short relief roles for the Indians AAA club, and he show signs of control issues. With runners on base his numbers take a sharp turn for the worse, and while his K/9 is great, his BB/9 and H/9 are not so good. Still, lefty relievers are nice to have in the system since left handed pitching is the coin of the realm across the minor leagues. He may get a cup of coffee with the Cubs at some point this season, and he will no doubt have a chance to earn a bullpen job in spring training, but I don’t think we should expect anything great from Smith.

    Abner Abreu, on the other hand, is intriguing. He’s similar to Michael Burgess in a lot of ways. He’s 21, a right handed hitter, at 6.3″ is a fairly big guy, and he has power. He also has strikeouts and problems making consistent contact. Opinions on this guy are all over the map. Baseball America did not have him in Cleveland’s Top 30, but other websites have had him as high as #5. If Abreu can tame his swing, start working the count, and make consistent contact, he as the power and the defense to be an everyday player in the majors… and possibly a star. If he can’t, he’ll never make it out of Double A. He’s only 21, though, and I like the risk. He already shows signs of improving at the plate in the second half of this season, and the Cubs staff in Daytona have had some success working with Burgess and Junior Lake (who had similar strikeout issues). There is plenty of time for Abreu to figure things out. He is no sure bet, but I think he is a gamble well worth taking.

  • JordanC

    @Ashley Bolton

    If Pena is traded, it will likely be to the Diamondbacks or Pirates. The way Pena’s contract is structured, it is likely he could be claimed off waivers in August and the Cubs would be left without a chance to trade him.

  • Luke Blaize

    @Ashley Bolton We could see Smith at some point. i think Maine would come out of Iowa first, but Smith could certainly get a look in September.

    From what I can tell, Abreu could play all three outfield positions, but he probably won’t be asked to. The Cubs have some good center fielders at his level already, so I think he’ll stay primarily in right, at least for now.

  • Luke Blaize

    By the way, those prospects are not official yet, nor final. We’ll let you know when anything is finalized.

  • JordanC

    @Luke Blaize

    I would imagine that they will wait. I, for one, do not think this will be their last trade of the week,

  • Luke Blaize

    @JordanC Not necessarily. If a team claims Pena off waivers, the Cubs will have a chance to work out a deal with that team. If a deal can’t be reached, they can pull him back off waivers. Or they could let him and go and stick the other team with his entire contract, like Rios to the White Sox.

    If all teams pass on him, then the Cubs can work out a deal and send him to anyone, since he will already have cleared waivers.

  • Luke Blaize

    @JordanC Me either. But I would love to see Burgess or Crawford in Tennessee soon.

  • Ashley Bolton

    Was hoping the Cubs would make a few more moves during the deadline and try to get some help for the future but it looks like Fuke maybe the only moves the Cubs make!! Anyone out there we have not heard of that the Cubs may end up trading by Sunday?

  • Luke Blaize

    I still think Pena will be moved, and I’m not ruling out Zambrano either. It seems every day another team starts looking for pitching, and Zambrano would not be a bad option for several teams.

  • JordanC

    It has been confirmed that both Smith and Abreu are indeed the players the Cubs will be receiving.

  • Luke Blaize

    @JordanC I assume Smith will go to Iowa and Abreu to Daytona. We might see an outfielder in Daytona be promoted to Tennessee to help free up some at bats for Abreu, though. Crawford or Burgess would be my guess, but the Cubs may decide to challenge Szczur.

    The Cubs may also wait to tune their minor league rosters until this weekend. If Pena goes, a couple more guys should be arriving.

  • JordanC

    @Luke Blaize

    Pena will not clear waivers. His contract makes him likely to be claimed by someone. But, if I were a contending team, I would claim him just to see if the Cubs want to do a semi-salary dump, but that does not appear to be a likely scenario. I, for one, am not a fan of August trades when you in a seller position. In my opinion and Hendry’s track record has proven so, you seldomly get a prospect that is worth while

  • Ashley Bolton

    Could we see Smith at some time this season in the bullpen? Can Abreu play all outfield postions? What is you all’s overall opinion of this trade? Do we see Z and Pena get traded now too?

  • JordanC

    The Cubs are going everything they can to trade Zambrano before Sunday. They are willing to take on most of his salary and are just looking for a taker. I wouldn’t rule out the Yankees despite their rash of denils, also keep an eye on the Red Sox or Tigers

  • JordanC

    @Ashley Bolton

    If Pena is traded, it will likely be to the Diamondbacks or Pirates. The way Pena’s contract is structured, it is likely he could be claimed off waivers in August and the Cubs would be left without a chance to trade him.

  • Luke Blaize

    @Ashley Bolton We could see Smith at some point. i think Maine would come out of Iowa first, but Smith could certainly get a look in September.

    From what I can tell, Abreu could play all three outfield positions, but he probably won’t be asked to. The Cubs have some good center fielders at his level already, so I think he’ll stay primarily in right, at least for now.

  • JordanC

    @Luke Blaize

    I would imagine that they will wait. I, for one, do not think this will be their last trade of the week,

  • Luke Blaize

    @JordanC Not necessarily. If a team claims Pena off waivers, the Cubs will have a chance to work out a deal with that team. If a deal can’t be reached, they can pull him back off waivers. Or they could let him and go and stick the other team with his entire contract, like Rios to the White Sox.

    If all teams pass on him, then the Cubs can work out a deal and send him to anyone, since he will already have cleared waivers.

  • Luke Blaize

    @JordanC Me either. But I would love to see Burgess or Crawford in Tennessee soon.

  • Ashley Bolton

    Was hoping the Cubs would make a few more moves during the deadline and try to get some help for the future but it looks like Fuke maybe the only moves the Cubs make!! Anyone out there we have not heard of that the Cubs may end up trading by Sunday?

  • Luke Blaize

    I still think Pena will be moved, and I’m not ruling out Zambrano either. It seems every day another team starts looking for pitching, and Zambrano would not be a bad option for several teams.

  • Luke Blaize

    @JordanC You aren’t going to get a player who is nearly ready in an August trade, but Hendry hasn’t done a bad job. Mateo, Berg, and Schlitter came from August trades, but all of those guys were deep in the minors when the Cubs picked them up.

    More recently, getting Evan Crawford for Fontenot last August is starting to look like a very good deal, and one of the Cubs’ top pitching prospects came back from Atlanta in the August trade for Lee, Robinson Lopez.

    August doesn’t tend to produce future All-Stars, but if you’re looking for guys years away from the majors or guys who project more as role players. August hasn’t been for Hendry. Not as good as July by any means, but not bad.

  • JordanC

    @Luke Blaize

    Pena will not clear waivers. His contract makes him likely to be claimed by someone. But, if I were a contending team, I would claim him just to see if the Cubs want to do a semi-salary dump, but that does not appear to be a likely scenario. I, for one, am not a fan of August trades when you in a seller position. In my opinion and Hendry’s track record has proven so, you seldomly get a prospect that is worth while

  • Luke Blaize

    @JordanC You aren’t going to get a player who is nearly ready in an August trade, but Hendry hasn’t done a bad job. Mateo, Berg, and Schlitter came from August trades, but all of those guys were deep in the minors when the Cubs picked them up.

    More recently, getting Evan Crawford for Fontenot last August is starting to look like a very good deal, and one of the Cubs’ top pitching prospects came back from Atlanta in the August trade for Lee, Robinson Lopez.

    August doesn’t tend to produce future All-Stars, but if you’re looking for guys years away from the majors or guys who project more as role players. August hasn’t been for Hendry. Not as good as July by any means, but not bad.

  • Tbarker

    Scot Barnes was the prospect they needed. They keep dropping the ball on ready or close to ready pitching. They feel Jeff Baker is more important for the future but pitching is not. Ridiculous! The system is full of position prospects but the pitching is light. Not one of those guys are top of the order starters. Simpson is looking like a bust, McNutt has had problems, Jackson should never have been a top prospect, Wells and Coleman are not the answers. Whitenack out with Tommy John. Struck, Cabrerra etc are back of the end guys. They ignored college pitching in this years draft and lets not get too excited about Maples, a steal yes but 5 years away. It is ALWAYS about pitching and they are severely lacking.

  • Tbarker

    Scot Barnes was the prospect they needed. They keep dropping the ball on ready or close to ready pitching. They feel Jeff Baker is more important for the future but pitching is not. Ridiculous! The system is full of position prospects but the pitching is light. Not one of those guys are top of the order starters. Simpson is looking like a bust, McNutt has had problems, Jackson should never have been a top prospect, Wells and Coleman are not the answers. Whitenack out with Tommy John. Struck, Cabrerra etc are back of the end guys. They ignored college pitching in this years draft and lets not get too excited about Maples, a steal yes but 5 years away. It is ALWAYS about pitching and they are severely lacking.

  • Luke Blaize

    @Tbarker I think you’re a little too negative on Simpson, McNutt, and Struck, but I can see where you’re coming from. I wouldn’t be too quick to write of the pitching they took in the draft, either, but most of their higher end arms came out of high school, and it will be a few years until we see what they turn into. There are least half a dozen we’ll be watching closely.

    I don’t know if Cleveland would have been willing to deal Barnes or not, but if they were, he would have been a great pickup. A big 23 year old lefty striking out more than one an inning at Triple A might be a little steep for two months of a light hitting, defensive-minded outfielder though. If Fukudome had another year on his deal (like Byrd does), it would be a different story. I could see a Barnes type guy coming back for Byrd.

  • Tbarker

    @Luke Blaize

    Barnes is thier 22nd ranked player, it is not like asking for Pomeranz. Most teams have to pay to win now, except in our case, where we pick up the salary and get marginal talent in return. I am not too negative on those three, Struck has advanced well but he simply does not have the stuff to be a top of the rotation starter. Simpson has been a diaster, he last pitched relief in the Arizona rookie league. McNutt has been inconsitent only throwing a few innings at a time. Try this perspective, if Randy Wells and Casey Coleman were at Daytona, they would dominate the league, we all would be saying “Wait untill Coleman and Wells get here” stats don’t always tell the story, seeing is beleiving and tue ability is critical.. To match a Halladay,Lee, Hamels or Lincecum,Cain,Bumgarner, or on a diviisional respect, Grienke, Gallardo, Marcum, we need aces. They simply are not there. When and if players like Jackson, LeMathieu, Szczur, Flaherty, Ha, Vitters and others contribute with Castro and Barney, Dempster, Zambrano, Byrd, Soto and even Marmol will not be factors, therefore trade them and compile as much pitching as possible. Not unlike the Marlins, and Rays have done successfully several times.

  • Luke Blaize

    @Tbarker I think you’re a little too negative on Simpson, McNutt, and Struck, but I can see where you’re coming from. I wouldn’t be too quick to write of the pitching they took in the draft, either, but most of their higher end arms came out of high school, and it will be a few years until we see what they turn into. There are least half a dozen we’ll be watching closely.

    I don’t know if Cleveland would have been willing to deal Barnes or not, but if they were, he would have been a great pickup. A big 23 year old lefty striking out more than one an inning at Triple A might be a little steep for two months of a light hitting, defensive-minded outfielder though. If Fukudome had another year on his deal (like Byrd does), it would be a different story. I could see a Barnes type guy coming back for Byrd.

  • Tbarker

    @Luke Blaize

    Barnes is thier 22nd ranked player, it is not like asking for Pomeranz. Most teams have to pay to win now, except in our case, where we pick up the salary and get marginal talent in return. I am not too negative on those three, Struck has advanced well but he simply does not have the stuff to be a top of the rotation starter. Simpson has been a diaster, he last pitched relief in the Arizona rookie league. McNutt has been inconsitent only throwing a few innings at a time. Try this perspective, if Randy Wells and Casey Coleman were at Daytona, they would dominate the league, we all would be saying “Wait untill Coleman and Wells get here” stats don’t always tell the story, seeing is beleiving and tue ability is critical.. To match a Halladay,Lee, Hamels or Lincecum,Cain,Bumgarner, or on a diviisional respect, Grienke, Gallardo, Marcum, we need aces. They simply are not there. When and if players like Jackson, LeMathieu, Szczur, Flaherty, Ha, Vitters and others contribute with Castro and Barney, Dempster, Zambrano, Byrd, Soto and even Marmol will not be factors, therefore trade them and compile as much pitching as possible. Not unlike the Marlins, and Rays have done successfully several times.

  • Luke Blaize

    @Tbarker McNutt has struggled with blisters and a rib injury resulting from a bad collision. His stuff has not been the problem this season, and he still profiles alongside Cashner as a potential ace. Simpson lost a ton of weight in the offseason due to illness and has not regained his strength. His fastball lost 10 MPH as a result. I’d like to see him back to full strength before I write him off. Struck does look more like a number three than top of the rotation guy. Whitenack looked like a potential top of the rotation starter, but we’ll have to see how he recovers.

    In 2013, I’ll happily stack Garza, McNutt and Cashner against the Brewer’s treo of Grienke, Gallardo, and Marcum.

  • Luke Blaize

    @Tbarker McNutt has struggled with blisters and a rib injury resulting from a bad collision. His stuff has not been the problem this season, and he still profiles alongside Cashner as a potential ace. Simpson lost a ton of weight in the offseason due to illness and has not regained his strength. His fastball lost 10 MPH as a result. I’d like to see him back to full strength before I write him off. Struck does look more like a number three than top of the rotation guy. Whitenack looked like a potential top of the rotation starter, but we’ll have to see how he recovers.

    In 2013, I’ll happily stack Garza, McNutt and Cashner against the Brewer’s treo of Grienke, Gallardo, and Marcum.