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NPB Tracker – which is actually a pretty solid blog about Japanese
baseball – put together a thorough
profile on Ken Kadokura
, the Cubs’
turning-Japanese-turning-Japanese minor league signee. Given the
borderline ridiculous depth in the Cubs’ bullpen at this point,
barring a trade, Kadokura is highly unlikely to make the 25-man
roster.

But here’s a snippet from the profile anyway:

Kadokura was teammates with Cubs outfielder Kosuke
Fukudome for the 1999 season with Chunichi, and it’s been speculated
that providing Fuku a little support over the course of the long
season may have played a role in this signing. I obviously don’t know
if that’s true or not, but to me this is a sound baseball move. We’ve
seen a solid trend of NPB relievers performing well in MLB, Kadokura
might benefit from having a more consistent role, and the Cubs current
regime seems to be able to get the most out of their
pitchers.

Aaaaand there it is. Sure, maybe he lights up the joint and makes the
team; but it’s far more likely that he’s being brought aboard to be
Fukudome’s spring training buddy. Hopefully they hit it off and become
roommates – because the Cubs don’t need to assist Fukudome in his
happiness and productivity in spring training. They need to do so in,
oh, say, June through October.

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