We have already heard rumors about the Cubs making Kosuke Fukudome available, and now those rumors have been confirmed by the Chicago Tribune. As according to David Kaplan, baseball sources are telling him that Cubs general manager Jim Hendry is aggressively shopping Fukudome, in an effort to clear up the outfield logjam.
"Word on the street: Baseball sources tell us that Cubs GM Jim Hendry has been very aggressive trying to move Kosuke Fukudome to ease the logjam in his crowded outfield. In fact, we hear that Hendry even offered to eat most of the money left on this year’s salary and half of the $14 million that he is owed in 2011. CHICAGO TRIBUNE"
The surprising part is not that the Cubs are shopping Fukudome, as that was expected, but the fact that the Cubs are willing to eat most of the money left on this year’s salary, as well as half of the $14MM Fukudome is owed next year. Although, if Cubs truly want to trade him, then that is what they would have to do. As, it would be highly unlikely that a team would be willing take on a large portion of Fukudome’s remaining $21MM that is owed to him.
The Cubs reportedly approached the Boston Red Sox about Fukudome, but the Talks did not advance past that, as at the time, the Cubs did not want to take on much of Fukudome’s remaining salary. But obviously, the Tribune report last night contradicts the report about the Cubs not wanting to take on much of the remaining salary on Fukudome’s contract.
The best chance that the Cubs have of trading Fukudome is if they can do a bad contract for bad contract deal, like they did when they dealt Milton Bradley for Carlos Silva this off-season. Fukudome’s value is not that high right now, which is why it is likely that the Cubs would have to do a bad contract for bad contract deal. While the Red Sox did not exchange any names with the Cubs, they do have a bad contract in Mike Lowell, who is making $12MM this year, which is close to the $13MM Fukudome is making this year. Then, the Cubs would probably have to eat most of the $13.5MM Fukudome is owed next year. While the Cubs right now are not a fit for Lowell, if they decided to deal Derrek Lee, then Lowell would be an option for a first base replacement.
Other teams that may have interest in Fukudome are the White Sox, Yankees, Padres, Braves, and Giants.