Fukudome’s Season Is Over, Cubs’ Career As Well?

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Chicago Cubs right fielder Kosuke Fukudome probably has played his last game this season for the Chicago Cubs. As Fukudome sprained his left knee in last night’s game and is day-to-day. With Mike Quade promising to play young players in the team’s final series in Houston, Fukudome probably will not return this season. Now the bigger question is, Has Fukudome played his last game as Cub.

There is no doubt in my mind that one of the players General Manager Jim Hendry will aggresively try and trade this year is Kosuke Fukudome. With the emergence of Tyler Colvin, and the imminent arrival of top prospect Brett Jackson, Fukudome is not a fit with the Chicago Cubs next season.

Another reason why the Chicago Cubs are desperate to move him, is because of the fact that they do not want to be paying $13MM to a reserve outfielder. In a off-season where the Chicago Cubs are going to be tight with spending money, any penny they can save and utilize will be essential to turning around this team’s fortunes. However, it is likely that the Chicago Cubs will need to pickup most if not all of the remaining salary that is owed to Fukudome.

The Chicago Cubs fell for the typical Japanease baseball player trap, that most major league teams have fallen for. With the great success that Ichiro and Hideki Matsui have endured, that only increases the expectations of Japanease players coming to the MLB.

Fukudome was no different, after coming to the Cubs with the expectations of being a player who is capable of hitting 25 home runs as well as hitting for a high average, he has played no different than fellow imported busts Kaz Matsui, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Kei Igawa.

Whether or not Fukudome is with the Cubs next season or another team, he still adds some value. He is a great defender in right field, as well as posesses a good eye while batting. So he is a typical fourth outfielder on a contending team.