In between talking about the Kosuke Fukudome signing on Wednesday, Jim Hendry officially non tendered Mark Prior. The Cubs could resign Prior but from all indications the Cubs have cut ties with their former ace. Hendry promised Lou Piniella he would be happy by Christmas and according to several radio interviews, it appears Hendry is not done trying to improve the team.
The Mitchell Report will be released today and Senator Mitchell has scheduled a 1:00pm C.T. press conference in New York City to announce the findings. Bud Selig will have his own press conference 2 1/2 hours later according to a report on ESPN. Several reports on Wednesday indicated there will be All-Stars and MVP’s on the list.
The Cubs announced Fukudome will wear number “1” for the Cubs and the back of his jersey will say “Kosuke”.
Here is the rest from the mill, with more on Fukudome, Roberts, DeRosa, Marquis, Murton and Bedard…. More on the Fukudome Signing….the Cubs new number “1”
Gordon Wittenmyer was on the Baseball Beat with Chuck Wilson on Wednesday. The two spoke about Fukudome and how the Cubs ended up landing the free agent. Wittenmyer said there might not have been a better fit in all of baseball for Fukudome. He mentioned Fukudome’s gap power and the fact he will likely hit in the middle of the order to break up the right-handed bats. Wittenmyer mentioned Lou Piniella’s experience and relationship with Ichiro had an effect on Fukudome signing with the Cubs.
The Cubs will provide two interpreters for Fukudome and will help his family with the transition to America and Chicago. Jim Hendry spoke with Dave Kaplan about both of these points on Wednesday night as well.
Wittenmyer said the White Sox made a slightly better offer and the Cubs did not make the highest offer. Apparently Fukudome wanted to be the first Japanese player to play with the Cubs and wanted to be on a contender. According to Wittenmyer’s report in the Sun-Times, Fukudome is expected in Chicago next week for a formal press conference.
Fukudome will wear his familiar number “1” and will wear “Kosuke” on the back of his Cubs uniform.
Breakfast with the Cubs? According to the Tribune, Fukudome’s signing will allow the Cubs to broadcast most of their games in Japan….a 7:00pm first pitch, will be 10:00am the next morning in Japan with the 15 hour time difference.
Mike Downey likes the signing and mentioned Kosuke is the first ever “Fukudome” in a Cubs’ uniform….he talks about several of the other Cubs last names of the past.
Wittenmyer and Chuck Wilson spoke about the possibility of the Cubs landing Brian Roberts. Wittenmyer feels Roberts is the “other left handed hitter” the Cubs have been referring to all off-season. He said the Cubs know now (after the signing of Fukudome) what prospects they can offer the Orioles for Roberts. Wittenmyer said the Cubs pursuit of Roberts “could ramp up.”
The Cubs are not looking for an upgrade over Mark DeRosa according to Wittenmyer but they are tying to inject speed and another left handed bat into the lineup. He said the Cubs are not intending to “bench” DeRosa and that he will still get 400-500 at bats next season just with starts in several different positions.
The Cubs could offer Ronny Cedeno, Eric Patterson or Mike Fontenot in a package for Roberts according to Phil Rogers. Could Jim Hendry land Erik Bedard as well? Rogers said if Sean Gallagher is added and with the deal Andy MacPhail just made with the Astros (landing 2 top young pitchers), “could expand negotiations to include Erik Bedard.” Rogers said “things are getting interesting.”
Jim Hendry was on The Show on Wednesday afternoon. Hendry spoke with Rob Dibble and Kevin Kennedy about Fukudome but also several other topics, including Mark DeRosa. Hendry told Dibble, “You win games with Mark DeRosa. We would not have won the division last year without Mark DeRosa.” Hendry spoke highly of DeRosa and even used the word “love“. Hendry went on to say what he is trying to do is not a reflection on what DeRosa has or has not done.
Hendry spoke highly of Tyler Colvin but added he would not likely be ready for another year to a year and a half. He said Colvin can play all three outfield spots but a lot of things can go wrong between 2008 and 2009 or 2010. To quote Hendry, “You can’t have too many good players.”
Even though DeRosa signed on to be the Cubs’ second baseman last season, he is a team player….the Sun-Times report is a must read. Piniella could only hope for “25 Mark DeRosas“.
Jim Hendry was also on ESPN 1000 on Wednesday afternoon. He continued to talk about Fukudome but also mentioned Matt Murton. Hendry did not say Murton is on the trading block but alluded to the fact he is trying to trade him. Hendry said they see Murton as a good Major League player. He said Murton is a left fielder and not a right fielder and is a very good right-handed hitter. Hendry said he is looking to do what is best for Murton and what is best for the Cubs.
Willie Randolph mentioned the Mets could be interested in Jason Marquis according to the New York Daily News….the Cubs apparently have shown interest in Endy Chavez.
Ken Rosenthal thinks the Cubs lineup is “getting more dangerous.”
Dayn Perry says “Fukudome’s future is not a sure thing” but he appears to like the signing….for now. Perry thinks Fukudome fits the Cubs needs.
From Around the League
Not only are the Reds interested in Erik Bedard, they have also inquired about what it would take to land Dan Haren, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and they might be willing to part with Homer Bailey.
Cliff Floyd is close to signing with the Tampa Bay Rays. According to a report on ESPN.com, the deal could be announced by the weekend.