The Trade Market For Kosuke Fukudome And Ryan Theriot

10:28pm: Morosi and Ken Rosenthal provided a Fukudome update on the FOX Sports MLB Buzz page.  They note that the Nationals are on Fukudome's no-trade list, but the Yankees and Red Sox aren't.  New York and Boston aren't known to have interest in Fukudome, though both teams have some need for an outfielder.  

Morosi and Rosenthal report that the Padres were interested in Fukudome when he originally came to the majors from Japan, though that was when Kevin Towers was the team's general manager.  The Padres could use outfield help but couldn't pick up Fukudome unless the Cubs paid most of his salary.

6:09pm: Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com looked at the fortunes of the Windy City's two clubs following their weekend interleague series, and headlined his piece by stating that the Cubs should be looking to deal rightfielder Kosuke Fukudome and infielder Ryan Theriot.

There's little question the Cubs would love to get Fukudome's hefty contract ($13.5MM for 2011 and a little under $8MM remaining for this season) off the books, especially given the club's desire to give more playing time to youngster Tyler Colvin.  Both Colvin and Fukudome are left-handed hitters so they can't really be effectively platooned, and obviously Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd are in no danger of losing their starting jobs.

Fukudome's slash line for the season is .276/.370/.453, generated in large part by a 1.084 OPS in April.  Since Fukudome's pattern over his first two major league seasons has been to start strong and then tail off into the summer, it seems as if the same is happening in 2010.

Given Fukudome's salary and no-trade clause that reportedly covers 15 teams, Morosi suggests that Chicago's best option is to deal Fukudome for another player with a bad contract of a similar length (here's the list of potential free agents after the 2011 season).  Of course, if the Cubs are willing to pay a large portion of Fukudome's salary, then that widens the trade market considerably.  Washington apparently showed some interest in Fukudome back in April and he could provide some stability for the Nats' outfield.  Their current RF platoon of Roger Bernadina and Mike Morse seems to be working well at the moment and obviously comes at a much lower price tag than Fukudome, even if the Cubs were to foot most of the bill.

As for Theriot, Morosi hasn't heard any shortstop-needy teams sniffing around, though he cites Detroit, Minnesota, Oakland and San Diego as contenders who could use some help at the position.  According to Fangraphs, Theriot provides better defensive help at second base (a 15.5 UZR/150) than he does at short (1.4 UZR/150) based on his career numbers.  Given the Mets' problems at second with the currently-injured Luis Castillo, Theriot could be a nice pickup for them.  He is controllable through 2012 and is making a reasonable $2.6MM salary this season.


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