The Chicago White Sox have signed former Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians outfielder Kosuke Fukudome to a one year deal worth $1 million. The deal has a club option for 2013. Fukudome made $13.5 million last year, which he spent with the Cubs and Indians. The Cubs initially signed the soon-to-be 35 year-old to a four year, $48 million contract in December of 2007.
Despite making $48 million over his MLB career, Fukudome’s career in the majors has been a relative bust so far. He has a career line of .260/.361/.399, and he’s been worth just 5.6 fWAR for his career. The major issue with Fukudome is that three of his four seasons have been primarily spent in right field, traditionally a high power position. Fukudome doesn’t exactly fit the bill with his career .139 ISO. He was heavily hyped upon joining the Cubs, and a bandwagon immediately formed for him after a .915 OPS in April 2008. The OPS dropped as the season went on, and he finished 2008 running on fumes.
Fukudome will join a relatively depleted outfield on the South Side, joining guys like the disappointing and overpaid Alex Rios, the young and unproven Dayan Viciedo, and the enigmatic Alejandro De Aza. It’s going to be rough for the White Sox, with Viciedo likely being the best of the three, and Fukudome should actually get a decent bit of playing time, especially if De Aza struggles in his first full-time starting gig. If Chicago wants to succeed though, they absolutely need Rios to rebound, otherwise it could be a long summer in Chicago.
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