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Cubs trade Fukudome to the Indians

Cubs trade Fukudome to the Indians
Sayonara, Kosuke...

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.

UPDATE:

I'm hearing the Cubs will receive OF Abner Abreu and P Carlton Smith.

Abner Abreu

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:

.244/.294/.429

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

Carlton Smith

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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  • Good! One down, hopefully a few more to go. Figured the prospect we got wouldn't be high level guys, no biggie there. I'm happy RF is now open for Colvin or Jackson.

  • Exactly! I think Colvin gets the first crack since he's older and doing better in AAA. That and Jackson is likely to play CF. I think the Cubs may leave Jackson in AAA to start next season and then call him up around June to take over for good.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Pat Gillick just did an interview on the score. Said flat out if he comes here that Jim Hendry isn't going anywhere. Also made a comment that made my skin crawl. "If it wasn't for that foul ball, the Cubs might have won a world series". Yikes, after hearing that, Pat can just go ahead and fully retire. We don't need that mentality around here.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    I've never been a big fan of Gillick coming here, because he's a lot like Hendry in style -- he was just better at it. He's basically a 5 year plan kind of guy. He can build your team up for the short term but by the time he leaves the team is on the downswing again.

  • Good update John! Do you see any of these two prospect getting any playing time before this season ends?

  • In reply to northsidetalk:

    Thanks! I can see the pitcher, Smith, getting a late season call-up. A good arm, but probably a middle relief guy if he makes it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yes, thanks for the update! I went to the link you had here for the story on Abner Abreu, and I'm impressed. He seems to be a bit better prospect that I thought we could net for Fuke. Must have been the 4 million bucks we kicked in = )

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    Sure...I added a separate story on Abreu just now for people who may have missed the update.

    He's someone to watch. This Indians prospect site I linked really seems to like him...though they also seem a bit frustrated. But the potential is there -- and that $4M check we sent them had to help.

    The other guy, Carlton Smith, seems like just a guy. Maybe an arm for some bullpen depth, but nothing special.

  • I remember Fuk's first game - Opening Day, game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth

    My how it dropped off after that

    Time to clean house inside the lockerroom and the front office

  • In reply to Cubswininallin2011:

    It looked like he was well worth it after that day. I do give him some credit, however, for introducing the Cubs to the base on balls in 2008. He really started a culture change on the team from a free-swinging team to a patient team with good OBP skills. Too bad it didn't last long!

  • You knew this was coming John, I'm just glad they got one decent prospect for him. The Abreu kid looks intriguing, like a lot of Japanese imports, Fukudome never fully lived up to his promise

  • In reply to rodeosteve:

    Intriguing but extremely raw...but my question is, what would Cubs fans expect to get from Fukudome? He was plan C or D for a lot of teams out there. I'm glad they got a guy with some upside, at least! he should be fun to watch. Next year is key...he'll either fizzle in AA or he'll make the adjustment...

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    yep, agreed. I'm not focusing on who we got, I'm chosing to focus on the beginning of the rebuilding process, which has hopefully started. In sports, there is nothing worse than mediocrity. If you have no legit shot at being the best, you should be setting yourself up to be the best in the future.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Exactly...I'd rather take our lumps with kids and regroup than just tread water for the next decade.

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