Thursday, July 28, 2011

Updated: Cubs Trade Kosukue Fukudome For Carlton Smith, Abner Abreu

Does the Fukudome trade open a
final chance for Tyler Colvin?
Well, the inevitable became history today. The Cubs have traded right fielder Kosuke Fukudome for minor leaguers Abner Abreu (High-A outfielder) and Carlton Smith (AAA reliever). Both players do not overwhelm — or, heck, impress or leave a lot of hope — but considering the Cubs only traded two months of Kosuke Fukudome, plus a chunk of change to cover about 15% 85% (what?!) of his remaining contract, the deal is not really all that bad.

One kind of wishes we maybe traded Kosukue in the off-season and thereby secured a heftier return, but the difference may have been minimal as Kosuke's career has been one pretty consistently lower-than-expected plateau.

As for the prospects, Abner Abreu is a 21-year-old in High-A who has somehow less plate discipline than the present 25-man roster. Still, he hits for good power and steals a good number of bases. Maybe in four years he'll make a nice pinch hitter or fourth outfielder? Maybe?

Carlton Smith is a 25-year-old AAA reliever who's not overly impressive. He's been striking out a lot more batters this year (9 per nine innings), but he's also walking a good deal too (3.9+ per nine). If he can lower the walk rate or reduce his home runs, then he could very well make a serviceable middle reliever in 2012 — not that the Cubs need it.

In a corresponding move, the Cubs have called up Tyler Colvin who was struggling in AAA (.275 OBP, .483 SLG). This may be Colvin's last shot to be an everyday player with Cubs, but they may choose just to give Reed Johnson the greater heft of the playing time moving forward — unless they can find a trade partner for him too.

UPDATE: Apparently I got the original number wrong. The Cubs are sending close to $4M along with Kosuke. This means the Cubs are basically paying Ghost Kosuke for the remainder of the season, but getting Colvin or Tony Campana production — all for the hope that they might possibly hopefully get a middle reliever and a fourth outfielder in 2012 and 2015 respectively.

This trade is a pretty big bummer.

On Twitter, I got into a discussion with several high quality Cubs fans, and they mostly felt Colvin deserved Kosuke's playing time, whereas I'm partial to Tony Campana. Campana has a strong, though lucky, hitting history in the minors, and appears every bit a great fielder and base runner.

Either way though, both options are not super great.

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