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Cubs Sign Fukudome

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Dec 12, 2007 3:10PM

2007_12_sports_fukudome2.jpgWell, that was fast! Barely 24 hours ago, Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome announced that he would leave Japan to play in the major leagues. Fukudome and the Cubs have already reached an agreement on a four-year deal, supposedly for between $48 and $50 million. By signing the outfielder, the Cubs beat out the Padres, White Sox and a couple other clubs rumored to be interested.

Fukudome will most likely play right field for the Cubs, but could see time in center as well. At the plate, he hits for both average and power. But he missed the final two months following elbow surgery, so the signing is not without its risks. But the possibility that Fukudome was the missing link between the Cubs and ending their century of futility made the risk worthwhile for Cubs GM Jim Hendry.

If only Harry Caray were still around, so that we might get to hear him mangle Fukudome's name on TV -- remember when Andres Gallarraga somehow became Andy Gallager? Ron Santo's already worrying about it, "I talked to Pat Hughes about it and told him that's going to be a tough one," Santo said last weekend from his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. "He said, 'Fukudome.' I said, 'Easy for you to say.'"

And Caray's drunken spirit lives on in the bleachers of Wrigley, were we can expect to see countless naughty plays on the new right fielder's name emblazoned on t-shirts. Maybe it can even become the standard pick up line for Trixie and Chad.

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters