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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cubs - Signed Fukudome

Chicago Cubs - Signed OF Kosuke Fukudome to a 4-year, $50 million contract.

I like this signing a lot.  $12 million doesn’t buy as much as it used to in the American free agent market and when the opportunity arises, I think a team like the Cubs should roll the dice at getting a star, which would have a huge impact on the NL Central race the next few years, rather than play it safe with mediocrity.  Fukudome did have minor surgery this season on his right elbow but it’s reportedly not an issue and since it’s the Giants and not the Cubs that diagnosed this, I’ll give Fukudome’s health the benefit of the doubt.  If the Cubs had said he had bone fragments in his elbow removed, the truth likely would have been that he had his arm below the elbow removed or lupus or something.

Fukudome should be the starting rightfielder for the Cubs and if his translation from Japan to the US is more like the Godzilla Matsui and not the Gobot Matsui, there’s a pretty good chance that the Cubs become the prohibitive favorite in the NL Central, where a 92-win team is probably enough to coast to the playoffs.

2008 ZiPS Projection - Kosuke Fukudome
———————————————————————————————————————
          AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS+
———————————————————————————————————————
Projection   457 66 134 33 2 13 67 64 100   1 .293 .382 .460   114
2009?      444 66 129 33 1 14 66 59 93   2 .291 .376 .464   113
2010?      386 57 108 26 1 10 57 55 85   2 .280 .372 .430   104
2011?      327 45   90 20 0   8 50 43 72   1 .275 .362 .410   97
———————————————————————————————————————
Opt. (15%)  537 91 170 42 3 19 87 87 95   4 .317 .415 .512   135
Pes. (15%)  376 46   98 25 0   8 45 44 86   0 .262 .341 .391   87
———————————————————————————————————————
Top Comps:  Jay Johnstone, Dixie Walker

Dan Szymborski Posted: December 12, 2007 at 02:20 PM | 111 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. dr. bleachers Posted: December 13, 2007 at 06:53 AM (#2643410)
Personally, I think a contract like Soriano's represents the exact opposite of a long term commitment to winning. Not that I think that taking your shot is a bad thing, and the Cubs certainly have a good one.

This reminds me of something that was perhaps posted here, but I can't find it. Anyway, the gist of it was an MLB exec or someone talking about how K/BB ratios and OBP wasn't so novel and saying something like, "we've signed several players that we knew wouldn't be worth the last years of their contracts, that's just the way it works." Yeah, that's butchered.
   102. KJOK Posted: December 13, 2007 at 09:18 AM (#2643465)
My own projection system is a tad more optimistic, having him at .290/.388/.503.

The complete details should be up sometime Thursday here:

The Japanese are Coming
   103. Dan Evensen Posted: December 13, 2007 at 06:10 PM (#2643938)
.293/.382/.460? 114 OPS+? Me likee.
   104. Walt Davis Posted: December 13, 2007 at 11:14 PM (#2644799)
Well, we can go on all day ... and we can also debate just how long-term a long-term plan needs to be to be long-term. Is Hendry making plans regarding the 2015 Cubs? Well, no, no GM looks that far ahead (nor should they). But I don't know how anyone could look at what the Cubs have done and not think that they think they're building a winner for 2008-2010 and possibly beyond.

As I've implied, I don't think it's a great strategy. I didn't like the Soriano contract, I'm lukewarm on ARam longterm (defense and health, not his hitting), I'm increasingly sanguine about Zambrano and KFuk is an upgrade but even a 114 OPS+ is basically average for a corner OF and it's gonna get worse from there.

But the Cubs haven't (yet) traded Pie, Hill, Soto, Wuertz, Gallagher, Hart. They haven't (yet) blocked any decent prospect (not that they have many). And although I'm not as excited about KFuk as some, he's a much better signing, a much better LONG-TERM bet than our traditional short-sighted Jones or Floyd signing.

I'm still not sold on the "true talent" of the 2008 team once the likelihood of injury/decline is taken into account -- will be interesting to see what some of the projection simulations come up with -- but it sure looks like a long-term plan to me.

Or to put it another way, it seems by some standards that the only way Hendry could have acted in the "long-term interest" would have been to trade off Z, ARam, Lee for prospects instead of signing them to extensions. But there's more than one way to think long-term.

Doesn't mean I trust Hendry's thinking. But a bad long-term strategy is still a long-term strategy. :-)
   105. Walt Davis Posted: December 13, 2007 at 11:17 PM (#2644811)
Or to put it another way, the proper short-term strategy would have been signing Andruw Jones for 2/$40 and trading Pie for a 2B or SS or RF or 5th starter or Church/Schneider.

True, maybe Hendry's just a crappy short-term thinker. :-)
   106. kwarren Posted: December 17, 2007 at 04:54 AM (#2647658)
Then again, Prince Fielder isn't a good bet to hit 50 homers a year. (No insult to him, it's just tough to do).

It's not as tough to repeat when you were the youngest player in history to do it the first time. I'm not sure he has to 50 HR a year to maintain his value in terms of WARP. Home runs is only part of the total contribution he makes.
   107. kwarren Posted: December 17, 2007 at 05:01 AM (#2647666)
Now Murton, he's gone. But I'm OK with that. Beyond the fact that this team won't ever give him a chance, he has never looked like THAT good of a player.

Murton will be 26 next year, has 830 career AB with a .820 career OPS. There's nothing wrong with this. Maybe his defense is so bad so as to offset this, but there is certainly nothing wrong with his bat.
   108. farfalone Posted: December 17, 2007 at 05:09 AM (#2647674)
kosuke fukudome, this name's gonna be a hit in next game chatters (?)
   109. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: December 17, 2007 at 06:22 AM (#2647708)
Then again, Prince Fielder isn't a good bet to hit 50 homers a year. (No insult to him, it's just tough to do).

It's not as tough to repeat when you were the youngest player in history to do it the first time.

Let's look this up. Aside from him, the youngest 50 HR guy was Jimmie Foxx in 1932. He dropped down 10, from 58 to 48 in 1933.

Next youngest: Ralph Kiner, who hit 51 at age 24. He hit 40 at age 25.

Next yougnest - Mickey Mantle, who hit 52 in 1956. He hit 36 the next year.

Next youngest: Willie Mays, hitting 51 in 1955. He hit 36 the next year.

Then, with A-Rod, you finally get a guy who repeats.

This is my point - sure young players tend to get better the next year and sure great homer hitters are likely to repeat, but even your great homer hitters have a damn hard time trying to hit 50 regularly. And few players have a perfect aging curve in their careers where they get better every year through age 27. There's always some bumps.

I'm not sure he has to 50 HR a year to maintain his value in terms of WARP. Home runs is only part of the total contribution he makes.

Homers make up a big honkin' percentage of his overall value. He doesn't generate much WARP with his glove, or legs. His batting average is nice, but it would take quite a boost in it to make up for 10 lost homers.
   110. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 17, 2007 at 04:33 PM (#2647874)
Of course, I would argue that it's pretty damn hard to hit 50 home runs and have it not be a big honkin' percentage of one's overall value!
   111. Spahn Insane Posted: December 17, 2007 at 05:41 PM (#2647919)
Of course, I would argue that it's pretty damn hard to hit 50 home runs and have it not be a big honkin' percentage of one's overall value!

Well, right, but you'd have to admit it's even more hard in Prince's case. Not much else he's bringing to the table here (not that he really needs to to be a valuable player).
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