This could mean absolutely nothing or it could mean that he’s not paying much attention to the trade rumors swirling this week, but Kosuke Fukudome just bought a three-bedroom condo in Chicago for $1.32 million.
Dennis Rodkin of ChicagoMag.com reports that Fukudome and his wife had been renting a place since signing with the Cubs in 2007, so the decision to own is definitely curious right now.
Earlier this week Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune wrote that the Cubs may have to trade Fukudome and the $13.5 million remaining on his contract in order to pursue any of their top free-agent targets. Later his Tribune colleague Phil Rogers wrote that the Cubs were “kicking around” a trade that would send Fukudome to the Red Sox for Daisuke Matsuzaka, but that rumor was pretty thoroughly squashed before long.
Whatever the case, it seems obvious that the Cubs are interested in parting with Fukudome at the same time he’s apparently interested in settling down in Chicago. Of course, it’s also possible that spending $1.3 million doesn’t mean much of anything for a guy with a $48 million contract.
Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.
Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.
Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.