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Cubs and Sox May Compete for Japanese Outfielder

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Dec 11, 2007 4:00PM

2007_12_sports_fukudome.jpgJapanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome finally declared his intentions to play in the major leagues next season. Considered to be one of the best outfielders in Japan's top professional league, he's expected to draw interest from a number of team.

Among the teams most interested are both the Cubs and White Sox, as well as the San Diego Padres. Will the latest Japanese sensation land in Chicago?

“It’s no secret we’d like him to come to the Cubs,” GM Jim Hendry said. Fukudome, in fact, has been their top free agent target this off season.

The White Sox are also expected to make a run at Fukudome to fill some of their outfield holes, although they may not have the resources to top an offer from the Cubs. Aaron Rowand remains at the top of their current wish list. On the other hand, the Sox have had more experience helping Japanese players like Shingo Takastu and Tadahito Iguchi acclimate to the major leagues and life in the U.S.

Ultimately for Fukudome, Chicagoist guesses it may come down to how good his English is, and whether he'd understand when the drunks in the Wrigley bleachers screaming, "Hey, fuck you, dome!"

Photo by AP Photo/Junji Kurokawa