Turning Japanese

This one ought to get you going on a Monday morning.

I know I've posted things here before from sources I trusted, and then they didn't happen, even though I was pretty darn sure they would -- and I got flamed for that.

I've received some information over the weekend that I'm going to tell you about -- and it may not happen, but I trust the source and if it does, well, you can tell everyone where you heard it first.

The Cubs are seriously pursuing both Kosuke Fukudome and Hiroki Kuroda and may, if they make good offers to both of them, have them signed within the next week or so, making their first big splash into the Japanese market.

This is very good news, if it does indeed happen, because these players would address some problems that the 2007 Cubs had -- namely, a consistent bat in right field who plays good defense (and in addition, Fukudome is a patient hitter with a high OBA who would be absolutely perfect in the #2 spot in the batting order), and a consistent pitcher who could hold down the 4th or 5th spot in the rotation. Signing both of them would also assuage the fears of either one that he'd be alone in a city where he doesn't speak the language and where the Japanese community is relatively small compared to some other cities (NY, LA, Seattle) where Japanese players have tended to sign in the past -- each would then have a teammate speaking his language.

As I said -- this isn't guaranteed. But from what I've heard, the wheels are in motion.

Oh, and one more thing. Get ready for one of the largest, if not the largest, ticket price increases in team history. Which is OK if the payroll is correspondingly increased (which I've also heard it will be) to put a championship-quality team on the field in 2008.

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