Friday afternoon it appeared one of the steps in the process of Jim Hendry being able to sign Kosuke Fukudome had been completed….Ken Rosenthal reported that Fukudome had decided to leave Japan and play Major League Baseball. Within a couple of hours Fukudome’s camp refuted the report but said his decision could be announced as early as Monday or Tuesday of next week.
Joe Urbon, Fukudome’s agent, said it was “likely” his client would play ball in the states next year but he could not say for sure and that Fukudome would take the weekend to talk with his family and make the decision. According to Urbon, Fukudome has not decided if he wants to take on the “challenge” of playing in the majors or remain in Japan and play with the fabled Tokyo Giants.
So the waiting continues…. Kosuke Fukudome
Joe Urbon talked with the San Diego and Chicago media on Friday afternoon….and made a couple of statements worth mentioning:
“The only way that geography is a factor is if on the contract side, everything is fairly even.”
“What matters is a chance to win and the things you look at when you’re choosing a team—the manager, the geography, the economics …. and the Japanese community will play a role also. The fact the Cubs have this long history, or they’re a national club, is irrelevant to him.”
Urbon said the amount of the winning bid “isn’t going to surprise anybody.”
A talent evaluator for one National League club called him a ‘poor man’s Carlos Beltran’.”
Bruce Miles stated the Cubs will continue to pursue Brian Roberts, but it will take some time…. and Erik Bedard is not on their “radar screen.”
From Around the League
According to the Associated Press, the Mitchell Report could be released as early as Thursday. Rumors have circulated the report would be released by the end of the year and some of the experts were suggesting the report would be released around the holidays to take the focus off the players that will be named.
During the Winter Meetings, the Reds traded Buck Coats to the Blue Jays for a player to be named later. On Friday the player was named. The Reds received minor league pitcher Justin James. Coats was DFA’d at the end of November to make room on the Reds’ 40-man roster for Francisco Cordero.
Speaking of the Reds….Redsfest got underway on Friday night. Dusty Baker was a big hit and Ken Griffey, Jr. has received a lot of calls from players on how they can come to Cincinnati to play for Baker.
Brandon Inge does not want to be a backup for the Tigers….he wants to be traded.
On a non-related Cubs note…. Today is the 27th Anniversary of the death of John Lennon.