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Indians acquire Fukudome from Cubs

The Indians acquired Cubs outfielder Kosuke Fukudome today in exchange for two minor leaguers, RHP Carlton Smith and OF Abner Abreu. Smith was a depth relief option still developing in Triple-A Columbus at age 25; his strikeouts spiked this season, but his overall numbers remain mediocre. Abreu was an interesting C-grade prospect toiling away in Advanced-A Kinston; he has great power potential but probably will never hit for enough contact to make it to the majors.

The Indians reportedly pay less than 800K of Fukudome's remaining salary, meaning the Cubs will send nearly $4 million in cash to balance out the deal. The Indians basically got this guy for nothing. 

Fukudome has been a huge disappointment in Chicago, signed with no U.S. experience to a Hafner-sized deal to great fanfare and then failing to produce any power at the plate. Leaving aside the disappointments of Cubs management and fans, the Indians are getting a plus defender and plus on-base guy. He won't set the world on fire — and he certainly doesn't give us an upgrade against lefties — but he is a solid if incremental upgrade to the club's shockingly depleted outfield picture.

Travis Buck was designated for assignment to free up a roster spot for Fukudome. The Indians reportedly are still in the hunt for a right-handed bat (Ludwick?) and possibly a starting pitcher. Stay tuned, the Indians are officially "buyers" now.