As you've probably heard by now, the Cubs traded Kosuke Fukudome to the Cleveland Indians for two prospects today. And a few days ago(I only know that because I looked up the date of the score at the bottom of the picture), the Indians' television network, SportsTime Ohio, had up a graphic about potential Indians trade targets. Fukudome was included in those trade targets... but SportsTime Ohio apparently didn't know that was his last name:

Pretty unbelievable and hilarious screw-up. Surely they somehow got Fukudome mixed up with quarterback Jake Delhomme, who their local NFL team, the Cleveland Browns, actually released today.

H/T: @AwfulAnnouncing(and I write for that site too by the way), @JeffDLowe

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Vote For What I Should Name My Upcoming Chicago Bears Blog

Posted by Matt Clapp | 7/26/2011 08:52:00 PM |

Vote at my other blog, Sharapova's Thigh

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Bruce Levine brought plenty of good Cubs trade deadline information today on ESPNChicago.Com. Specifically, he talked about Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome, Marlon Byrd, and John Grabow.

Let's start with Soriano. Levine is hearing that the Cubs would be willing to eat much of the $60 million+ remaining on Soriano's contract, which ends in 2014:
The Chicago Cubs would be willing to absorb a high percentage of left fielder Alfonso Soriano's contract if the right trade offer came along, a source familiar with the situation told

Soriano has more than $60 million remaining on an eight-year, $136 million deal he signed in November 2006.

There is a full no-trade clause in his contract, but Soriano told two months ago that if the Cubs approached him about a trade, he most likely would agree to one. He reaffirmed that recently to multiple outlets.
This really should come as no surprise, but it's still very nice to hear. If there's a team willing to give the Cubs a solid return in prospects back for Soriano, and/or pay at least some of his remaining salary, the Cubs would be stupid to not jump at the opportunity. Soriano's on a significant decline offensively, his speed has all but vanished, and his defense, well, everybody knows how bad that is. But, he can still hit the ball out of the ballpark(although he hasn't done that since June 19th), and a move to an American League team that will allow him to not have to worry about defense could bring more out of his offensive production.

Now, as for Aramis Ramirez, he/his agent continue to say that he has no intentions of waiving his no-trade clause, and apparently met with the Cubs' brass recently, saying the same thing:
In related news, multiple sources said Aramis Ramirez recently met with Cubs management and the message conveyed by Ramirez's camp was that the third baseman wants to stay in Chicago and would not waive his no-trade clause. Ramirez told on Wednesday that he would consider an extension beyond next season.
Not good news. While I'd be fine with keeping Ramirez through next season, and would be open to at least looking into an extension, he could bring a terrific return for the Cubs right now. He's been arguably the hottest hitter on the planet over the last month+, and is second among MLB third basemen in OPS(.859). So, while even I may not be openly trying to get rid of him, it's possible a team would blow the Cubs away with an offer, and it would stink if they couldn't pull the trigger on such a deal due to Ramirez's no-trade clause.

But, there's at least some good news about the chances of dealing Kosuke Fukudome. Levine points out that Fukudome is being linked to many teams, and especially make sense for the Cleveland Indians:
Right fielder Kosuke Fukudome has been on the radar of a number of teams, including the Cleveland Indians. The Indians, who lost right fielder Shin Soo-Choo to injury, would be a much better team with Fukudome.
Fukudome, is a free agent after the season and will be 35 next year. He's not in the Cubs' future plans. So if they could get anything back for him at all, there's no reason to not do it.

Levine also said that teams are interested in Marlon Byrd and John Grabow(although it's hard to imagine him bringing much at all in return). Byrd is making $6.5 million next season in the last year of his three-year contract, and with the Cubs' outfield uncertainty going forward, they would like to hang on to him unless they're presented an offer too good to pass up.

The trade deadline is just 10 days away, so it will be interesting to see what the Cubs do.

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It's impossible for me to look at this picture and not laugh:

Don't worry, Starlin's not leaving the Cubs to be a blackjack dealer. Heck, since he just turned 21 in May, this may even be his first trip to a blackjack table.

Anyway, the picture is from the Dempster Family Foundation "Casino Night", which is currently going on at The Palmer House Hotel in downtown Chicago. The Dempster Family Foundation raises money to fight 22q(also known as DiGeorge Syndrome), as Ryan Dempster's daughter lives with the disorder.

H/T: CubsInsider

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Editor's Note: Sean Carey is a good friend of Justin and I, and is incredibly knowledgeable about the Cubs' farm system. And we haven't had very much Cubs minor league talk on here, so we asked him if he'd like to come aboard to educate you about some of the Cubs' prospects. He was kind enough to accept our offer, and we hope you'll enjoy his prospect analysis as much as we do.

If there were an award in the Cubs minor league system for breakout player of the year, Justin Bour may have already taken ownership with only half of a season in the books. He’s starting to turn heads and gives the Cubs a source of power in the system; an attribute they seem to be lacking.

Bour (pronounced with a long ‘o’ sound: bore) tapped into his power potential at high-A Daytona this year. Since being drafted by the Cubs in the 25th round of the 2009 draft, power has been the one question mark in the George Mason product’s repertoire. Not exactly what you would expect from a 6’4", 250-pound first baseman.

He has accumulated numbers that highlight his ability to hit to all fields, as well as take free passes. Prior to 2011, Bour smacked 200 hits and took 83 walks in 815 plate appearances. The power numbers did not show up in his box scores though. His slugging percentage has been much improved this year to the tune of 38 extra-base hits. He’s only six shy of his last year’s mark.

“I've been working on my swing with the hitting instructors and we both know that the home runs will come, I just need to tone my swing to where it needs to be," Bour said in an August 2009 interview.

Clearly, his hitting ability is only rivaled by his clairvoyance. With 17 home runs so far, Bour has impressed many in his most recent year of minor league play.

He needs to have a more extended period of success to prove his critics wrong though. Many believe that he doesn’t bring much to the table as a 23-year-old in high-A ball. If he can extend his production to the end of the season though, he could work his way into the Cubs' top 10 prospects. A promotion to Double-A, followed by relative success, would certainly help to force the spotlight upon him.

The one area for concern seems to be Bour’s ability against lefties. While most left-handed sluggers do tend to struggle against lefties, Bour has had an incredibly rough time this year, sitting at about a .500 OPS for the year against them.

We should all be hoping that Bour is never needed to fill in at first base. The names the Cubs have lined up as potential replacements for Carlos Pena (Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols) would both be excellent additions this off-season.

Still, Bour seems to be a great backup plan, and could be a helpful trade piece down the line at least.

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