Kosuke Fukudome has returned to Japan after five seasons in America, with Sponichi News reporting that he’s agreed to a three-year deal with the Hanshin Tigers.
Fukudome was largely viewed as a huge bust after leaving Japan in 2008 to sign a four-year, $48 million deal with the Cubs, but while he certainly wasn’t worth that investment he did prove to be a solid (if incredibly streaky) player with a .360 on-base percentage in 596 games.
He spent most of last season in the minors at age 35, so Fukudome was unlikely to get more than a minor-league deal if he remained in America.
Released by the White Sox last month, Kosuke Fukudome has signed a minor-league contract with the Yankees.
Marc Carig of the Newark Star Ledger reports that the 35-year-old outfielder will head to Triple-A and try to convince the Yankees he’s worth adding as a bench bat down the stretch.
Fukudome obviously never lived up to the hype with the Cubs and he was injured and ineffective in a brief stint with the White Sox, but as a left-handed hitter with good on-base skills he has some value.
For his career against right-handed pitching Fukudome has hit .260 with a .366 on-base percentage and .768 OPS.
No other teams claimed him off waivers and the White Sox couldn’t find a taker via trade, so they released Kosuke Fukudome today after designating him for assignment last week.
Fukudome played sparingly and poorly after signing a one-year, $1 million deal as a free agent and was on the disabled list with a back injury when the White Sox decided to cut him loose.
He failed to live up to expectations after leaving Japan to sign a four-year, $48 million contract with the Cubs in December of 2007, but Fukudome has a .359 career on-base percentage and can be plenty useful if platooned versus right-handed pitching.
Kosuke Fukudome seemed like a solid low-risk pickup for the White Sox considering it took only a $1 million commitment compared to the $48 million he earned while being a disappointment on the other side of Chicago, but the outfielder played sparingly and has been designated for assignment.
The move comes instead of activating Fukudome from the disabled list, where he’s been for the past two weeks with a back injury. And the White Sox had him in their plans enough to send him on a minor-league rehab assignment earlier this week, but with Fukudome apparently ready to return they decided not to bother.
Fukudome got just 51 plate appearances for the White Sox and hit .171, but as usual continued to show good plate discipline with a 9/8 K/BB ratio. He failed to produce anywhere near as much as the Cubs hoped from 2008-2011, but Fukudome has still managed a .359 career on-base percentage and can be useful when spotted mostly versus right-handed pitching.
Kosuke Fukudome needs a disabled list stint for his injured rib cage and the White Sox have called up Jordan Danks to replace him.
In addition to being a 25-year-old outfield prospect Jordan Danks is also the little brother of White Sox left-hander John Danks.
Jordan has mostly been a disappointment since the White Sox picked him out of high school in 2008, but turned things around early on this season at Triple-A by hitting .302 with eight homers and a .934 OPS. Last year at the same level he hit just .257 with a .770 OPS and that was actually the best production of his career at that point.
Fukudome played a limited role for the White Sox after signing a one-year, $1 million deal as a free agent, hitting .171 in just 54 plate appearances.