Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fukudome Trade Details and My Take...

The Chicago Cubs traded Kosuke Fukudome to the Cleveland Indians for prospect pitcher Carlton Smith and OF Abner Abreu. The Cubs will reportedly pay 3.9 million of the 4.6 million left on Fukudome’s contract. In a corresponding move the Cubs have recalled Tyler Colvin to Chicago.

The Cubs have been rumored to have a deal in place with the Indians for a week now but the Indians wanted to see what Beltran and Rasmus were doing before they pulled the trigger. The Cubs were also given two choices in the deal; to pay the majority of the contract and receive their pick of two players off a list given to them by the Indians or to pay none of the contract and take a PTBNL in the deal. The Cubs made the right decision.

Carlton Smith is a 25 year old righty who has pitched both in the bullpen and rotation. Smith has 7 minor league seasons under his belt and has never spent time in the majors. In those 7 seasons he has a 36-28 record with a 4.21 ERA. He has pitched a total of 535 innings, gave up 532 hits, and struck out 347. He by no means is a guy who will miss a lot of bats but could be projected to join the bullpen for the Cubs sometime this season.

Abner Abreu is considered the prize in the deal according to scouts. Even though Abreu is projected as an outfielder he is more of an athlete having played OF, SS, 2B, and 3rd in his young minor league career. Abreu is only 21 years old and needs some polishing before he becomes anything too special. In 5 seasons he traveled from rookie ball to high A ball before his 21st birthday. In 5 seasons he has hit .267 with 38 homers 42 SB and a .311 OBP. He has a very high ceiling and could be something really special by the time he is 25.

In the end the Cubs got exactly what they wanted in a trade for Fukudome; SOMETHING! The market for Fukudome was petty weak and I was even hearing teams like the Brewers wanted the Cubs to pay most of his contract and get a PTBNL in return so all in all this was a good move for Jim Hendry. Fukudome has been a solid baseball player for the Cubs. He has played stellar defense in RF, showed what it is like to have plate discipline, and played hard all the time. The fact is Fukudome is not worth the contract he signed and this should be a learning experience for the Cubs and all of baseball that stats don’t always translate. I am just glad the Cubs got two solid young guys for a guy with only 13 RBIs this season. In the end I give this trade a B. What do you think?

Until Next Time…

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rumoring Around...

A lot of these were updated on my twitter so those of you who follow me this is old news-

- Carlos Pena’s trade talk is severely exaggerated according to sources. Even though the Pirates seem like the front runners to land him.

- The Cubs are close to trading Fukduome according to sources and Bruce Levine. The Indians remain a likely destination with the Brewers and two other teams in the mix.

- The Cubs number one target is off-season is Prince Fielder regardless of “other talk.” Carlos Pena is plan B because Pujols is likely to stay in St. Louis according to sources.

- The first outfielder to be brought to the ML after one is traded is not Brett Jackson but Tyler Colvin. In my opinion they need to bring Jackson up first.

- The Cubs called on James Shields before he was pulled off the trade market by the Rays.

- A source close to Tom Ricketts said he will “evaluate the entire baseball operation that is the Chicago Cubs.” This is including the affiliates of the Cubs as well. The source also said “he is not afraid to make drastic changes if he feels it benefits the Cubs, the fans, and the city of Chicago.” A lot can be speculated from this; anything from Stadium renovations, to a fire sale, to many coaching changes, to anything really.

Until Next Time..

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cubs Rumors- Pena, Dbacks, Prospects, Fukudome, and Soriano

Fukudome is drawing interest from 4 teams. Levine listed the Indians as one and I am hearing the Brewers might be one of the four as well.

- The Yankees are willing to take Soriano and half his contract from the Cubs but they want Marmol to come with him. That scenario is unlikely according to a Cubs source.

- Kevin Slowey is on the Cubs radar even though they are sellers. Slowey has been very good for the Twins even though he is not a strike out machine many consider him a nice #3/#4 starter in the NL. He is 39-21 in his career with 488 IP and a 4.43 ERA. He does pitch to contact but does not walk guys. Would be a very nice addition to the Cubs staff.

- Rob Biertempfel from the Pittsburgh Tribune said the Pirates are in on Carlos Pena.

- A tweet from Jon Heyman says Carlos Pena “will almost surely be moved” and said the Dbacks “could be in play there.” We at HSC said weeks ago that the Dbacks had interest in Pena, Ramirez, and Wood. Since then we have learned that Ramirez and Wood will remain with the Cubs at least until the end of the season. Wood is expected to sign an extension while Ramirez could hammer out a deal as well.

- A source of mine chimed in and said the Cubs are actively scouting the entire Dbacks farm system. Most notably left-hander Wade Miley, 3B Ryan Wheeler, 3B/1B Matthew Davidson, 1B/3B Bobby Borchering, and RHP Charles Brewer.

- That same source of mine told also told me the Cubs would consider trading anyone except the “impactful youth” for the Pirates young OF Starling Marte, LHP Rudy Owens, or LHP Jeff Locke. He said the Cubs would in fact entertain dealing Marmol, Marshall, or even Garza if they get two of those players. The Cubs of course really value is Jameson Taillon as well but he is not going anywhere.

- Marshall is not available for anyone according to team officials.

- John Grabow is likely to be dealt this week.

- Alex Presley’s thumb injury increases the need for an outfielder tweets Ken Rosenthal. This confirms some rumors through my sources that the Pirates have called the Cubs on Fukudome, Johnson, Colvin, Byrd, and even Soriano.

- Another source said the Pirates will likely show they are “all in” before the deadline by making some big splashes via trade. A big splash for the Pirates would be acquiring an impact hitter like Beltran, Pence, and some can argue Soriano.

- Teams have called on Geovany Soto but the asking price is “higher than Beltran” said one baseball official.

- The Shark has been gaining trade interest and the Cubs are entertaining the idea of trading him (if he will finally accept one).

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