Yearly Archives: 2007

December 12, 2007

Houston Acquires Tejada for All the Prospects They Had Left

The Houston Astros already ranked worst among farm systems in the league, which may explain why they had to trade five players to the Orioles for one Miguel Tejada. Doesn’t leave them a lot to work with to negotiate starting pitching. Maybe they’re counting on Clemens coming back.

HOUSTON — The Houston Astros announced today that the club has acquired infielder Miguel Tejada from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for right-handed pitcher Matt Albers, third baseman Michael Costanzo, left-handed pitcher Troy Patton, right-handed pitcher Dennis Sarfate and outfielder Luke Scott. The announcement was made by General Manager Ed Wade.

“We’ve added a run-producing, All-Star shortstop who will be an absolute force in the middle of our lineup,” said Wade. “With the exception of some time missed in 2007, Miguel has been someone who plays hard for every single inning of every single game. Placing him in our lineup solidifies the offense and gives us a very tough batting order.

“We gave up some outstanding players and prospects in this deal, and it hurts. But if you’re going to add a major piece to your club, the price is normally high.”

December 12, 2007

Welcome to Fukudome

I am so very pleased that Fukudome has landed in the NLC. I can’t wait to hear George Grande–the guy who won’t say the “Damn” in “Best Damn Sports Show”–try to pronounce his name.

P.S. – I understand the deal was 4 years, $48 million, though the press release never says.

CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs today announced the club has agreed to terms with outfielder Kosuke Fukudome on a four-year contract through the 2011 season pending the passing of a physical, expected to take place next week in Chicago. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“On behalf of the entire Cubs organization, we’re honored Kosuke Fukudome has chosen to become a member of the Chicago Cubs and very excited to introduce him to our great fans,” said Cubs Vice President/General Manager Jim Hendry. “We are looking forward to welcoming him to Chicago next week and helping make Wrigley Field his home.”

A native of Kagoshima, Japan, Kosuke Fukudome (pronounced “KOH-skay foo-koo-DOUGH-may”) has spent his entire nine-year pro career with the Chunichi Dragons, where he batted .305 with a .397 on-base percentage and a .543 slugging percentage in 1,074 career games. Fukudome was a two-time Central League batting champion, led the league in on-base percentage three times and four times won a Gold Glove for defensive excellence in the outfield.

Fukudome has posted an on-base percentage of .430 or better in each of the last three seasons and hit 23 or more home runs for four seasons in a row from 2003-06, including a career-best 34 home runs in 2003. He has topped 30 home runs twice, eclipsed 100 runs scored three times, reached 30 or more doubles four times and surpassed 70 extra-base hits three times, including a career-high 83 extra-base hits in 2006 (47 doubles, five triples, 31 home runs).

The 30-year-old Fukudome won Central League Most Valuable Player honors in 2006 when he batted .351 with 31 home runs and a career-high 104 RBI. Fukudome won the batting title, 28 points ahead of his closest competitor, while his .438 on-base percentage led the league and was 36 points ahead of his next closest competitor. He also led the league with a career-high 117 runs scored, a career-high 47 doubles and a career-high 1.091 OPS thanks to a .653 slugging percentage and .438 on-base percentage.

Fukudome, who bats lefthanded and throws righthanded, was limited to 81 games in 2007 due to a right elbow injury and underwent surgery to remove bone fragments on Aug. 20. Despite the injury, Fukudome batted .294 with 22 doubles, 13 home runs, a .520 slugging percentage and had a .443 on-base percentage that led the Central League at the time his season ended. Fukudome walked (69) more times than he struck out (66) in 2007.

A first round draft pick by Chunichi in 1999, Fukudome made his professional debut that season and batted .284 with 25 doubles, 16 homers, a .359 on-base percentage and a .451 slugging percentage in his rookie season as the club’s starting shortstop. Fukudome was converted to a third baseman and outfielder in 2001 and became the club’s starting right fielder in 2002, when he notched his first batting title with a .343 mark while leading the league with 42 doubles.

The six-foot, 187-pound Fukudome reached double digits in every extra-base hit category in 2003 as part of a campaign that saw him bat .313 with a league-leading .401 on-base percentage. He boasted a 1.004 OPS thanks in part to his 30 doubles, 11 triples and 34 home runs. Fukudome also led the league in triples and runs scored (107).

After an injury-shortened 2004 (92 games), Fukudome returned with a strong 2005, leading the league with a .430 on-base percentage, finishing second with a .328 batting average and recording 103 RBI. His MVP season of 2006 followed.

Fukudome has excelled as a member of Team Japan in international play, most recently winning the gold medal at the World Baseball Classic in 2006. He was also a member of the Japanese Olympic Baseball teams that won silver medals in 1996 and bronze medals in 2004, when he tied for the Olympic lead with three home runs to go along with a .316 batting average.

December 10, 2007

Episode 82: Redsfest and New Microphones

Not a lot going on in the NLC to talk about this week, though the Crack Technical Staff and I made it out to Redsfest for a few beers and some making fun of the jerseys in the Reds Community Fund shop. I wonder how much they’ll have to pay someone to take those Milton jerseys off their hands.

We also discussed the rule 5 draft, the Brewers signing Eric Gagne for $10 million, and lesser moves around the division.

December 9, 2007

RedsFest 2007

While much of the country spent the weekend frantically shopping for the rest of the people on their holiday gift list and wondering just how long much longer they’ll have to give all the credit to Santa before their wide-eyed, innocent, grabby, Halo 3-obsessed children can take the news without falling into an hour-long shrieking fit, Reds fan lined up for the annual Redsfest. The Crack Technical Staff and I were in attendance to drink beer and make smart alec remarks.

Not to be outdone by Mr. Red, Gapper shows off his tambourine stylings. Watch out Jan Brady!

“Well, Bobby, I played Neifi so much because he had guts,” Dusty Baker explained while fielding softball questions from children in a charming PR opportunity.

The Reds unveiled the latest development in protective equipment technology. Rumor has it that Ken Griffey, Jr. will be the first to be entirely covered in balloons to provide a protective cushion in case of falls. His range isn’t expected to decrease much.

He’s no Pokey Reese: A young Cincinnati fan tries on a Reds cap at a somewhat askew angle.

The souvenir shop featured the Touch line of clothing that will never look as good on you as it does on Alyssa Milano.

I like Tom Shearn.

I’m skipping the joke to tell the real story of this photo. Phillips was leaving the autograph area after completing his time when he comes upon a group of fans in the hall. Even after an hour of signing, he tried to get the security guys to let him sign. Too bad they ushered him away.

Why do guys always need to compare bats?

The Screaming Mimes closed out the event and had people literally dancing in the aisles. Sure, they looked a little crazy dancing that way, but credit to the Mimes for inspiring them.

December 9, 2007

NLC Transactions 12/2-12/8

My self-appointed task of updating you each week on player transactions in the NLC is made somewhat easier this week by the fact that RHM has already given us the lowdown on the Astros signing Kaz Matsui, and Zeldink has already given us the scoop on the Rule 5 draft.

The Pirates reacted to the news on Monday 12/3 by claiming IF Josh Wilson off waivers from Tampa Bay. They also claimed RHP Ty Taubenheim off waivers from the Blue Jays, and DFA’ed IF Brad Eldred and RHP Brian Rogers to make room on their roster for Wilson and Taubenheim.

On Tuesday, the Cubs traded LHP Will Ohman and IF Omar Infante to the Braves for RHP Jose Ascanio, while the Brewers signed LHP Chris Narveson and RHP Scott Cassidy to minor league contracts that include invitations to spring training.

On 12/5:

  • The Cardinals released OF So Taguchi
  • The Brewers signed RHP David Riske to a three-year contract. They DFA’ed OF Laynce Nix to make room on the roster for Riske.
  • The Reds traded OF Buck Coats to the Toronto Blue Jays for a player to be named later or cash (but keep reading), released IF Jorge Cantu, signed free agent RHPs Jon Adkins and Justin Lehr to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training.

Thursday 12/6 was the Rule 5 draft, aside from the transactions resulting from that, the Cubs decided to forego that process and simply went out and bought themselves RHP Tim Lahey from the Tampa Bay Rays for cash.

On Friday 12/7:

  • The Reds acquired RHP Justin James from the Blue Jays, completing Wednesday’s deal involving Buck Coats and making this the shortest (two days) PTBNL deal I can remember.
  • The Pirates and Brewers worked an intradivision trade, with the Brew Crew getting RHP Salomon Torres while the Pirates obtained RHPs Marino Salas and Kevin Roberts. Torres promptly indicated that because of his family’s roots in suburban Pittsburgh, he may elect to retire rather than report to Milwaukee. That might be fine with Pirates fans – the Pirates’ newsgroup on Usenet announced the trade using the following subject line: “YeeHaw Torres traded…….”

Today (Sunday 12/9) we receive word that the Astros have added IF Mark Loretta to their 40-man roster after he accepted the team’s offer of salary arbitration, while Trever Miller declined arbitration. There’s also a report that the Brewers have a deal in place with Eric Gagne, and another report that Japanese free-agent Kosuke Fukudome, apparently regarded as one of the best outfielders in Japanese pro ball, has decided not to move to the Yomiuri Giants and will sign with a major league team instead.

And here I thought Fukudome was a new fully-enclosed stadium being built by a team that hates its fans….