Rumor: Cleveland Indians, Among Other Teams, Looking at Kosuke Fukudome

Among the players the Chicago Cubs would be willing to trade, right fielder Kosuke Fukudome has to be near the top of the list. He’s a free agent at the end of the year, and is not expected to return in 2012. He’s relatively expensive, and the Cubs would like to see a younger player like Brett Jackson or Tyler Colvin getting some starts.

But, one problem: despite the Cubs’ efforts to move Fukudome (it’s going on two years now), there has never been significant interest.

That may finally be changing. From Bruce Levine:

Right fielder Kosuke Fukudome has been on the radar of a number of teams, including the Cleveland Indians. The Indians, who lost right fielder Shin Soo-Choo to injury, would be a much better team with Fukudome.

A National League scout, who asked for anonymity, likes what he has seen in Fukudome this season as opposed to the previous two.

“He’s a different player now,” the scout said. “He’s different than when he came to the Cubs. Fukudome no longer tries to pull the ball on a regular basis. He has better balance in the batter’s box and doesn’t’ overswing like when you would see him spin around in the past. Right now he’s kind of a poor man’s Ichiro. He doesn’t have Suzuki’s speed, but he’ll hit the ball where it’s pitched and take a single or a walk. That’s why he has the good high on-base percentage.”

The scout went on to say that as a defensive player, Fukudome is above average in range as well as arm strength and accuracy.

The Cubs are reportedly looking for pitching prospects, which, like, duh.

There are, as with virtually every Cub rumor this year, two hurdles to dealing Fukudome. First, he’s got a limited no-trade clause, which could potentially allow him to block the Cubs’ preferred trade. Second, although he’s in the final year of his contract, he’s owed about $6 million for the rest of this year. That’s a lot for a guy like Fukudome, who could certainly help a contender, but is not a difference maker. The Cubs are going to have to eat some of that just to move him, let alone if they want to get anything decent in return.

I still believe, given his value and future standing with the team, Fukudome is one of the most likely Cubs to be moved before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

17 responses to “Rumor: Cleveland Indians, Among Other Teams, Looking at Kosuke Fukudome”

  1. Fishin Phil

    “He’s different than when he came to the Cubs. Fukudome no longer tries to pull the ball on a regular basis. He has better balance in the batter’s box and doesn’t’ overswing like when you would see him spin around in the past. ”

    This is my favorite part about his game this year. I have actually stopped calling him “Helicopter Boy”.

    1. Jeremy

      Fuki-copter

  2. EQ

    Doesn’t he also have fewer home runs and just about the same batting average he always does this time of year? So, if anything, his “difference” means less power?

  3. Joe

    Ok, I was reading the cubs inbox thing on mlb.com and thought of two things:

    Does it feel like Baker doesn’t produce a lot ,when he is in the game, to anyone else? or is it just me? And didn’t his batting average used to be in the mid-300′s?

    ” Do you realize that the Cubs have won three in a row with Koyie Hill catching? In his last three games behind the plate, the Cubs have given up a total of six runs. While it is not reasonable to expect he could do this for the entire season, with Hill as the starting catcher, the Cubs are 15-10. With Soto catching this season, the Cubs are 24-46. I am not suggesting the Hill is a great catcher and should start every day. I am saying that if you look at the data, Soto may be a big part of the problem.”

    I just thought that it was funny that he had to “regain his credibility” by saying he doesn’t think Koyie Hill is a great catcher.

  4. CubFan Paul

    Cleveland also lost Sizemore I believe for 6weeks (knee & hernia surgery)

    1. VanSlaw

      Cleveland also lost Sizemore I believe for 6 weeks (Grady Sizemore)

      Fixed.

  5. Quinn

    The Indians have a ton of guys ready for, or very close to ready for MLB now. I’d love to get Zach McAllister, but I’m biased.

    1. hardtop

      biased? man-crush?

  6. auggie1955

    I hope we can move Fukudome. Up until now there had been a lot of teams needing an OF’er, but Fukudome’s name would never be mentioned. Names like Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp. and Melky Cabrera would constantly be rumored to be traded, but Kosuke’s name would never come up.

  7. RY34

    any chance we get matt laporta in a deal! yeah right!

  8. Caleb

    Fukudome to the Indians for a new team bus and a sack full of hotdogs.

    Make the deal, Hendry.

    1. RoughRiider

      Fukudome to Cleveland for minor league LHP Giovanni Soto. Just to give the writers something to talk about.

      1. Caleb

        …and a sack full of a hotdogs?

        1. RoughRiider

          Chicago Style

  9. Kosuke Fukudome Sounds Open to a Trade | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    [...] could make a hell of a fourth outfielder or even a starter against righties. At least four teams, one of whom is almost certainly the Indians, are showing interest in Fukudome. So, if he’s open to it, a trade is likely to happen. And [...]