Kosuke Fukudome was introduced on Wednesday afternoon and finalized his 4-year, $48 million dollar deal. Fukudome was added to the Cubs 40-man roster and contrary to published reports, “Fukudome” donned the back of his Cubs jersey….along with the number “1”. Fukudome has been on the Cubs radar for the last 3 years and made him their only off-season target to fill their need for a right fielder. Fukudome said during his press conference that the Cubs were one of the teams that promised him he could play right field.
Dennis FitzSimons resigned from his post with the Tribune Company on Wednesday and “will step down as chairman and chief executive officer immediately after the company completes its going-private transaction. FitzSimons will leave the company at the end of the year.”
Here is the latest from the mill on Brian Roberts and Erik Bedard, more on Fukudome and is Joe Blanton on the Cubs shopping list?
Fukudome said during his press conference, through an interpreter, that he expects to be fully recovered from the elbow surgery he had last season in time for Spring Training.
“My rehab and my elbow are coming along very well. I think I can be able to perform as well as I did before my surgery.”
Will Carroll spoke about Fukudome in video on Baseball Prospectus.com….the video does not include any additional highlights of Kosuke, but it is worth viewing.
There was a very good report by Mike Spellman in the Daily Herald on Wednesday morning about Fukudome. Spellman spoke with Naoko Sato of Nikkan Sports News about Kosuke. She talked about Fukudome and compared him to Aaron Rowand. Sato said there will be between 10-20 Japanese journalists covering Fukudome on a daily basis in 2008.
Fukudome stated “he probably hits best” in the number three spot in the lineup but said he was not “that familiar with the Cubs lineup.” Kosuke said he is looking forward to playing for Lou Piniella and that he is a “famous manager” in Japan because he managed Ichiro.
Fukudome said all of the “right things” during his press conference. He even mentioned he would like to “help the Cubs end their long championship drought.” Fukudome was asked about Sammy Sosa and he said he grew up watching Sosa and it will be an honor playing the same position on the same field as Sosa.
Peter Angelos supported Roberts’ decision to admit using steroids after he was included in the Mitchell Report. Roberts said he made the decision to make the announcement for himself and no other reason. Greg Couch thinks the “Cubs should say no to Roberts.” In his report in the Sun-Times, Couch stated the Cubs “should not be signing anyone named in the Mitchell Report.”
Dave Kaplan mentioned on two different occasions on Wednesday night that he was told the Brian Roberts deal will get done and is very close. Roberts wants to be a Cub according to Kaplan.
Internet rumors circulated on Wednesday night stating a deal with Roberts was close to being completed and the Tribune reported Roberts is still on the Cubs radar.
Jayson Stark reported the Cubs have talked to the Orioles about Roberts and Erik Bedard, but, according to Stark, the Cubs do not have “what it takes to trade for both.”
Speaking of Erik Bedard, the Reds are still trying to trade for the southpaw according to a report in the Cincinnati Enquirer….but do not appear “on the brink of a trade.” The Orioles want Jay Bruce and the Reds are not willing to part with their top prospect and Baseball America’s 2007 Minor League Player of the Year.
Are the Cubs interested in Joe Blanton? According to Dave Kaplan they are…. XM Radio has talked about Blanton quite a bit over the past few days and they speculated Billy Beane will be looking for a similar deal to the one he just received from the Diamondbacks for Dan Haren. Blanton had a good season for the A’s last year and could be a good addition to the Cubs staff, but he will come with a huge price tag of prospects.
From Around the League
Steve Stone will be back in the booth doing play-by-play in Chicago….but on the South Side. Stone will be in the White Sox radio booth for Friday games only next season.
Michael Barrett agreed to a 1-year, $3.5 million dollar deal with the Padres on Wednesday and avoided arbitration.
Curt Schilling suggested Roger Clemens should give back the Cy Young Awards he won since 1997….if the Rocket cannot clear his name from the allegations made in the Mitchell Report.