Wednesday, December 12, 2007

From Jones to Fukudome

For the past few weeks all we have heard about was Jim Hendry's quest to the Far East to find a prize, not to be confused with a new Indiana Jones flick or anything, but a quest.

The expedition has landed Kosuke Fukudome, which is the greatest name in the history of the Cubs. Hee-Seop Choi doens't even come close to Fukudome.

Of course, will Fukudome hit? That is hard to say. Jacque put up two years of hitting .285, but his power numbers dropped from 27 HR in 06 to just 5 this season. Jacque had basically became a singles hitter that struck out too much. Jones' slugging dropped from .499 to .400, which gave him a .735 OPS this last season, which is something you can't have out of your starting RF, even though Jones played Center most of the second half of the season.

Our other OF, Matt Murton, posted a .791 OPS this season and it just doesn't look like the Cubs are going to him a chance to show he can hit on a regular basis. If anything, Murton might provide insurance if Felix Pie or Sam Fuld can't cut it as regulars in CF, or in a trade for another bat or pitcher.

Fukudome isn't without baggage to start. He is coming off elbow surgery and players from Japan aren't always a sure thing.

Akinori Iwamura, of the Tampa Bay Rays, posted a .780 OPS last season. Which isn't bad, but he posted a .933 OPS in his last season in Japan with 32 HR (He only hit 7 with the Rays).

As for our guy, Fukudome posted a .963 OPS in limited duty last year and 1.091 in 2006. His numbers will come back to earth, but if his career .397 OBP comes across the Pacific Ocean, the Cubs get an on base player that they have lacked for years.

For good measure, Hideki Matsui actually hit 50 HR in his last season in Japan, but only hit 16 in his first season in New York. Since then, he has become a 25 HR hitter with a high OBP.

For Fukudome, I say he hits 23 HR and posts a .385 OBP in his first season. If his OPS lands around the .859 mark, it would be a good. It probably will be closer to .800, but remember Jones was .700 this year. Of course, Fukudome can improve our defense and speed, which don't always translate into stats.

Lets take a look at the new lineup as of Dec. 12:

1. Soriano - LF R
2. Derosa - 2B R
3. Lee - 1B R
4. Fukudome - RF L
5. Ramirez - 3B R
6. Soto - C R
7. Pie - CF L
8. Theriot - SS R

The lineup isn't striking fear in anybody, but it is much improved with Fukudome in it. If Soto and Pie produce, this has a chance to be a very productive hitting team. The lineup still is very Right Hand heavy, but at least we don't have Kaz Matsui playing second.

The Bench:
1. Matt Murton - OF R
2. Daryle Ward - OF/1B L
3. Ronny Cendeno - INF R
4. Henry Blanco - C R
5. Sam Fuld - OF L
6. Mike Fontenot - 2B L

This will probably change, because I bet the Cubs get another Utility type guy, unless they trade for a Brian Roberts and DeRosa becomes our first guy off the bench.


1. Zambrano
2. Lilly
3. Hill
4. Marquis
5. Dempster/Marshall/Hart/Prior/

The Cubs really could use another starter at the top of the rotation, but I think that might be tough to do. Somebody will get dealt or non-tendered (Prior). The First three are pretty good, the last five need some work.

Closer - Kerry Wood
Setup - Bob Howry
7th Inning - Carlos Marmol
RH - Michael Wuertz
LF - Scott Eyre

The Rest?

Those five guys will be in the Pen, who will be the other six or seven to join them is the question. Carmen Pignatiello and Neal Cotts are lefties that have a chance. Then, Kevin Hart and Sean Gallagar will probably make the team. Rule 5 Tim Lahey will have a chance, along with Jose Ascanio, who was acquired in a trade.

Well, until another big move that is it for now.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Cubs are moving....slowly

After a few more moves the cubs still look about the same...minus Jones, Ohman.

But I'm waiting for the Fukudome to drop. I'm starting to like the thought of the Fukudome playing. So much so, I want a Fukudome Jersey.