Saying sayonara to Kosuke

Post by Austin Hannon. (Photo by Stephen Green)

Last week’s trade deadline brought a bittersweet ending to the Cubs career of the team’s first Japanese player, who inspired an entire bandana trend in the Wrigley Field bleachers. Kosuke Fukudome arrived in the Windy City in 2008, and his three and a half seasons in Chicago produced a career average of .262, with a .369 on-base percentage and .403 slugging. Above all, Fukudome will be remembered as a patient hitter with a knack for getting on base.

The right fielder was traded before the deadline to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for prospects; outfielder Abner Abreu and relief pitcher Carlton Smith. Abreu, has enjoyed a productive July, winning Player of the Week honors twice for High-A Kinston in the Carolina League.

Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein, a future contributor to Vine Line, identified Abreu as a sleeper before the 2010 season. Noted for “impressive power” that is starting to produce home runs this year, Abreu’s also an “impressive athlete.” He also noted that his hit tool is well below-average, “with the brutal combination of swinging at everything while rarely making contact. He’s not a high-risk/high-reward player as much as he’s a high-risk/medium-reward type, but there’s some chance of him being more than just a name.”

On Smith: “He’s a classic, non-descript fastball/slider reliever, but both pitches are solid, despite his arm angle giving left-handers a very long look.” In his seventh season, Smith will provide depth at Triple-A Iowa until he gets a call-up to the Cubs bullpen.

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