Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox right fielder Kosuke Fukudome reacts after being walked against the Cleveland Indians at US Cellular Field. Credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE
The Japanese outfielder came to MLB in 2007 with much hype. He never lived up to it.
On December 11, 2007, to much fanfare and excitement in Chicago, Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome signed a four-year, $48 million contract with the Cubs. He was widely thought to be the best hitter in Japan's major leagues at the time, and a couple of other teams were reported to have bid more than that for him; Fukudome wanted to be the Cubs' first Japanese player.
He hit a three-run homer in his first MLB game and became a fan favorite -- until he started wearing down late in seasons. Though he drew a fair number of walks and had a .369 OBP in his Cubs career, he never hit for much power, averaging 12 home runs for the Cubs until they traded him to the Indians in mid-2011.
Fukudome apparently liked Chicago enough to buy a flashy lakefront condo there; in order to stay in Chicago, he signed with the White Sox. That part of his career ended Friday; a White Sox news release about the disabled list move of Philip Humber also stated:
The White Sox also returned Kosuke Fukudome from his injury rehabilitation assignment at Charlotte, reinstated the outfielder from the 15-day disabled list and designated him for assignment.
Fukudome didn't play much or hit much as a fourth outfielder for the White Sox, with a .171/.294/.195 line in 51 plate appearances. But his Chicago career is summed up well in this tweet from Cubs beat writer Paul Sullivan:
Sox designate Fukudome for assignment. He only cost $1 million though, not $48 million.— Paul Sullivan (@PWSullivan) June 22, 2012
Fukudome is 35 and his disappointing MLB career is probably over.