Everybody says Kosuke Fukudome is a very good player, with many and varied skills, so we have no real choice but to believe them for now.
I am encouraged by his left-handed bat, and his reputation as a disciplined high-OBP hitter who can run and is strong defensively. I’ve long thought winning teams really must have a few such players; since the Cubs have never prioritized on such attributes until recently, and since they last won a World Series in 1908, I’m still pretty comfortable with that position. Yeah, I’m brave that way.
His contract is 4 years, $48M. He’s 30 years old.
And as they wave hello to Fukudome — careful how you type that! — they wave bye-bye to Mark Prior. The deadline for signing him passed last night at midnight. It’s too bad; he had (as a rookie in 2003) as impressive a debut as you can possibly have, and looked positioned to have a long career as a dominant pitcher.
But injuries have prevented him from doing anything useful for two (or is it three?) years now. There are also rumors that he has no guts, and can’t play through some pain. Who knows? Either way, he’s gone, and his career may be over, and he’s only 27 years old. His record: 42-29, 3.51 ERA.
They still have the option to sign him as a free agent. His price will depend on how much interest he generates in the free agent market.