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Indians acquire Fukodome from Cubs

July 28, 2011
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Kosuke Fukodome
The Indians today have acquired outfielder Kosuke Fukodome from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for High-A Kinston outfielder Abner Abreu and Triple-A Columbus right-handed reliever Carlton Smith.

Fukodome, 34, is a veteran outfielder the Cubs signed out of Japan and who debuted stateside in 2008. This year he is hitting .273 with 3 HR, 13 RBI and a .742 OPS in 87 games.  He is a left-handed hitter, which likely means he will replace Travis Buck or Ezequeil Carrera on the roster and get most of the playing time against right-handed pitching. In the last three years he has a .262/.374/.420 line against right-handers.

Fukodome is not an impact bat or a run producer.  Instead he is a leadoff hitter and tablesetter, something the Indians could use considering Carrera has been hitting leadoff of late.  Fukodome's game is centered more around making consistent contact (340 Ks in 1967 PA) and getting on base (.369 career on-base%), something the Indians could use in a strikeout laden lineup.

Fukodome is in the last year of a 4-year $48 million contract he signed with the Cubs. He has roughly $4.7 million left on his contract this season, which the Cubs are expected to pick up more than half of it where the Indians will only need to pay about $775K.  He is under control after this season, though per the rules in his contract the Indians would need to offer him an extension by November 15th or release him.

I'll have more on the two players the Indians gave up, Abreu and Smith, later tonight including their full 2011 scouting reports.

This appears to only be the first of a few moves expected from the Indians. The Indians still need a right-handed bat and also are pursuing starting pitching.

Follow Tony and the Indians Prospect Insider on Twitter @TonyIPI. Also, his latest book the 2011 Cleveland Indians Top 100 Prospects & More is available for purchase for $20.95 to customers in the US (shipping and handling extra).

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