UPDATE: Done deal, reports Carrie Muskat of MLB.com. Kosuke Fukudome is an Indian.
11:04: Multiple sources are now reporting that the Tribe would send two minor leaguers, as yet unidentified, put a pitcher and a position player to Chicago. It’s also being reported that the Cubs will pick up all but $775,000 of the $4.5 million Fukudome is still owed for 2011. A deal is expected to be done before game time tonight.
10:01 AM: Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Indians are in “serious talks” for Cubs’ outfielder Kosuke Fukudome. Danny Knobler says “it’s very close to happening.”
Lots of barriers to something happening here. For one thing, money, in that Fukudome is owed over $4 million for the rest of the year and the Indians aren’t the habit of adding salary. For another thing, Fukudome has a no-trade clause. It’s limited, but I’m guessing one could make a lot of money betting on things like “a given player’s no-trade clause includes Cleveland.” Finally, his contract contains a clause that prohibits teams from offering him arbitration, so the Tribe won’t be able to get picks for him. Of course, as was the case with Carlos Beltran, it’s an open question as whether offering him arbitration would have made sense anyway.
If they can get past all of that — and from the sound of it, they’re close to doing that — adding Fukudome to the Indians wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. He has gotten on base at a decent clip this year, and given how thin the Indians’ outfield is right now, he could be useful.
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.