Thanks to suntimes-
BY GORDON WITTENMETYER
Refuting an online report today that Japanese free agent Kosuke Fukudome is set to declare his intentions to play next season in the United States, the outfielder's agent said he has not been informed of a decision and doesn't expect an announcement until early next week.
Agent Joe Urbon said he provided Fukudome on Thursday with enough detailed information from the "manageable few" U.S. teams making serious offers that he expected it to take at least much of the weekend for the player to make a decision. And even if he makes the decision to play in the U.S., Fukudome would be expected to meet personally with two Japanese teams with interest before announcing anything to teams in the States.
Cubs officials said today they have not been told of a decision by anyone in Fukudome's camp.
''I think it' unlikely that he stays [in Japan] but that's his decision, and I have no feel how he'll go right now,'' Urbon said.
Urbon would not name the U.S. finalists or discuss specifics about them, but the field is believed to be down to four teams: the front-running Cubs, the White Sox, the San Diego Padres and the Texas Rangers.
The offers are detailed enough that if Fukudome announces by Monday or Tuesday that he's coming to the U.S., it's possible a deal could be done by the end of the week.
Fukudome, 30, has a .397 career on-base percentage and is considered Japan's top hitter. The left-handed-hitting right fielder, who can play some center if necessary, had been at the top of the Cubs' offseason wish list since putting together their winter plans in October.
This is getting irritating. Either come to the US or stay in Japan. I'm tired of waiting, if we lose out on Fukudome our options will be very slim and thru a trade the team the Cubs trade with will have the upper hand because they know we need a RFer! This is not a good sign!