Wow – I was a bit nervous when I heard that Kosuke Fukudome was heading back to Chicago. Thankfully it’s on the south side with GM Kenny Williams and the White Sox.
Fukudome will make $500,000 in 2012 and the White Sox have a 2013 club option worth $3 million. Or they can just buy him out for another $500,000 before the start of the season. And to think that the Cubs actually paid him $48 million for his 4 years on the north side. Good old GM Jim Hendry – every player’s (and player’s agent) best friend.
After the Cubs outbid everyone to land the Japanese League MVP back in 2008, Fukudome went on to become an average (at best) major league outfielder. Sure, he made the All-Star team in his 1st year with the Cubs (pretty much every Cub did that season except for back-up catcher Koyie Hill). And if you’re looking for someone with a great on-base percentage (.361 career average) but very little offensive skills, Kosuke is your man. In 4 seasons in the NL, Fukudome had a .260 batting average, with 42 HR’s, 191 RBI’s, 262 runs scored, 491 hits and 299 walks. But if you look more closely at his numbers, he had 129 hits and scored 79 runs in each of his 1st 2 seasons with the Cubs, so his numbers have really dropped off the last 2 years.
Fukudome turns 35 years old in April, so he will be nothing more than a back-up/spot starter for Robin Ventura’s White Sox during the 2012 MLB campaign. Assistant GM Rick Hahn pretty much echoed those sentiments when discussing his role with the White Sox – “We’re not looking for this guy to come in and completely change his approach. We just want him to be the player he’s proven to be over the last four years.” Good luck with that one…