Fukudome will give Cubs a spark
December, 12, 2007
Kosuke Fukudome -- pronounced something like "KOSS-kay f-KOO-doh-meh" -- was the only available free agent who could fill the hole the Cubs had in right field with good defense while addressing the on-base percentage issues in their outfield. Had they failed to land him, they didn't have an alternative that was likely to make their lineup better, making this a smart and fortunate signing. Fortunately for the Cubs and their fans, they're probably the most risk-loving franchise in baseball, so the concerns that many teams have about how Japanese players' skills will translate to MLB weren't going to stop the Cubs from taking a shot on Fukudome. Fukudome's best attribute as a hitter is his willingness to work deep counts, reminiscent of Bobby Abreu's approach and results. The Cubs were in the middle of the pack in the National League in OBP and in pitches seen per plate appearance last year, and consequently finished just eighth in runs scored.