Here is a nice peice from Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.COM-
Kosuke FukudomeFor a while, the consensus was that Fukudome would stay in Japan. That's no longer the case. Agent Joe Urbon told ESPN.com that he met with Fukudome in Nagoya, Japan, on Wednesday night and went over the "multiple offers" the outfielder had received from MLB clubs.
"Although staying in Japan certainly is an option, it is highly unlikely," Urbon said in an e-mail.
The Giants, Rangers and Cubs are among the clubs interested in Fukudome. After parting company with Cliff Floyd and Jacque Jones, the Cubs are looking for a more athletic left-handed hitting outfielder. And Fukudome's .397 career on-base percentage is certainly appealing.
"He's kind of a poor man's Carlos Beltran," said a National League personnel man. "He's not top of the line, but a pretty good player. He can run, he can drive the ball in the gaps a little bit, and he can go get it pretty well in the outfield."
This is very good news for the Cubbies! It seems the only thing that would prevent the Cubs from getting Fukudome is him staying in Japan. I bet Fuk got some really good deals presented to him and you gotta think the Cubs are at the top of the list. Hendry has been waiting around this offseason so far making minor moves such as acquiring Infante for Jones, trading Monroe to the Twins for a PTBNL, all this to clear a spot for a power hitting lefthanded high obp RFer. That is Fukudome. This entire offseason has been centered around Fukudome and I really hope the Cubs can announce a deal soon!
On another idea, Fukudome is said that he could play all 3 OF position but maybe suited best in RF. If the Cubs sign him I wouldn't put it past Hendry to try him in CF and acquire a RF thru trade or free agency or maybe sign a CFer in case Pie is not ready. It probably wont be a sexy name like Jones or Rowand but I can see Hendry maybe signing Lofton, Bradley, Stewart, Wilkerson, Alexie Rameriz or maybe trade for a guy like Drew, Crisp, Duffy, or David DeJesus. If they really wanted to add an impact player how bout Crawford?? Oh yeah we already went over that!
Here is some stuff Lou has to say-
The left-handed-hitting Fukudome, 30, is expected to draw interest from several major-league teams, including the White Sox, and the Cubs are prepared for a bidding war if he decides to leave Japan, as most expect."Our scouts like him," Piniella said. "They say he's a cross between Ichiro [Suzuki] and [Hideki] Matsui."Piniella said the Cubs are looking for a left-handed hitter to bat fourth or fifth in the lineup, which Fukudome could easily do."The one good thing with this young man is he can play both right and center field," Piniella said. "That's a big advantage."
Piniella also said he'd like to see if Kerry Wood can handle the workload in relief before deciding if he can become the primary closer, and that the Cubs are "leaning" toward giving Felix Pie the everyday job in center field. He said the Cubs hope to get a left-handed-hitting infielder to spell shortstop Ryan Theriot, whose hitting declined at the end of his first full season in the majors.
HERE IS AN IDEA!
The A's are actively shopping a couple of quality top of the rotation pitchers who are still under contract, here they are-
Dan Haren- He is a #1 starter and is better deal than Santana and would cost a little cheaper. Haren went 15-9 with a 3.07 era in 34 starts last year. He pitched 222 innings, stuck out a 192 batters!!! With 55 BB and giving up 24 homeruns. He is right handed, only 28 years old and best of all he is owed 16 million over the next 3 seasons which is such a bargain!!! He would likely cost 2 young pitchers with ML experience, a young pitching prospect, and a young position player. Here is what I would offer
A's get Hill, Marshall, Veal, and either Pie or a combination of Murton and Epatt. That deal should get Haren and believe me he is well worth it!!
Rich Harden- This guy is something else. He has pitched both out of the pen and in the rotation but is more suited as a starter. Here is his career stats, 34-18 in 76 games started over his career. He has logged 454 innings pitched in his short career, with 431 SO. He is a tough righty and has great stuff. He is only 27 years old and another solid #2 pitcher. He is owed 11.5 million for the next 2 years. He would cost less guys than Haren but still would be pricey. Here is what I think would get this done-
A's get Marshall, Gallagher, Epatt, and Murton might get Harden or you might have to part with Hill.
The A's are considering a fire sale by revamping there team and getting young players to replace there aging veterans. The A's love prospects and have let many good pitchers leave for FA or thru trades so it makes sense that there taking offers on these two studs! If the Cubs could get one it would really strengthen there rotation. Imagine...
Hart/Prior/ Gallagher/ Hill/ Marshall(depending on who gets traded)
That would be a great solid top 3 rotation!!!