According to ESPNs Buster Olney, the Cubs will trade Kosuke Fukudome to the Cleveland Indians, probably before game time today. It seems only the last details need to be worked out at this point, but this much is known so far...
1) The Cubs will receive 2 prospects
2) The Cubs will pay more than half of Fukudome's remaining salary (4.7M)
I'll keep updating this as we get more information, but two things give me hope that we'll get at least a decent prospect here. The first is that Cleveland has said it's willing to deal good players and secondly, the Cubs offered to pay a significant chunk of money. The latter often means that a team is more willing to give up value in terms of players in exchange for saving more money.
I'm hearing the Cubs will receive OF Abner Abreu and P Carlton Smith.
Abner is 6'3", 187 lbs, and bats and throws right-handed. Abreu was signed out of the Dominican Republic as a 17 year old in 2006, making him 22 years old now. He has a smooth swing and good power potential, which he has just started to tap into this season. He's an average to good athlete and a very good defensive player. Hitting is inconsistent but he's been on a tear lately. Abreu is very raw, but has lots of natural ability. Here are his numbers so far this season:
He has 12 HRs and 19 SBs. A big concern is his strikeout to walk ratio, which is 22 to 102 in 367 plate appearances.
Abner was rated the #23 prospect for the Indians but dropped off in 2011. One site, Indians Prospect Insider, had him ranked as the Indians #5 prospect in 2010, but dropped him down to #22 before this season. This site also said in an article 4 days ago that he has the tools to be the best prospect in the Indians system and Baseball America says he had the best OF arm in the entire organization
Smith (RHP) has good size at 6'2", 205 lbs. He is already 25 yrs old but is currently in AAA as a relief pitcher and probably will pitch for the Cubs sometime this season. He throws a 91-93 mph fastball which tops out at 95mph and has a good slider and a split finger fastball. Like Abreu, Smith has been plagued by some inconsistency. Here are his numbers in AAA:
2-3, 4.50 ERA, 2 Saves. He has struck out 46 batters in 46 innings and has walked 20.
Both players have some ability but at this point don't project as starters. Abreu is the prospect with the higher ceiling but, as mentioned, he's still pretty raw. Smith may fit in as a middle to long reliever, but probably no more than that.
For the Cubs, the overall haul isn't bad considering they didn't have a lot of leverage, but the most important immediate result of the trade means an extended opportunity for Tyler Colvin to play RF on a regular basis. The Cubs need to determine whether he can be a part of their future OF as there are more OF prospects now coming down the pipeline. This is Colvin's big chance and he needs to seize that opportunity.
So...the flood gates are open. Who's next?
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