with the signing of Kosuke Fukudome official today it got me wondering who, if anyone, is a japanese born player that is a free agent. after looking I found that indeed three are available, and two could help and the third wouldnt be bad on a minor league deal as a just in case. They are So Taguchi, Akinori Otsuka and Tomo Ohka. The only reason I suggest any of them would be to make Kosuke's transition easier by having a fellow japanese speaking teammate. so the question is do you want any of those three on the 2008 cubs team.
I think Taguchi would be a great fourth or fifth outfielder and can play all three spots and has some good speed. I think if the price is right an arm like Otsuka could be a valuable pen arm, even if he misses some early time from healing the injured elbow. And finally Ohka as a minor league arm with major league experience helps Iowa, helps Kosuke during spring training, and helps the cubs if they are faced with a major injury or huge hole in the rotation.
I would imagine that So and Tomo could be signed to deals for a combined 2 million with So getting 1.3 or 1.4 of that and Otsuka could be had for maybe 2 years 4 or 5 guarenteed with all sorts of options obtainable plateaus.