The Chicago White Sox signed free agent outfielder Kosuke Fukudome to an extremely team friendly one year contract that guarantees the 34 year old a measly $1.5 million, including a $500,000 buyout if the team doesn’t pick up its $3.5 million option for 2013.
Let’s do that thing where we disguise the identities of two players to make a general manager look foolish.
Over the last three seasons, Player A: 1635 PA, 13.3 BB%, 17.7 K%, .362 OBP, .406 SLG, .336 wOBA, 4.0 fWAR, 4.5 rWAR, 2.8 WARP.
Over the last three seasons, Player B: 1561 PA, 9.2 BB%, 19.7 K%, .342 OBP, .470 SLG, .349 wOBA, 3.6 fWAR, 5.2 rWAR, 5.1 WARP.
Player A is Kosuke Fukudome, and Player B is Jason Kubel. Both players are left handed batters that were available on the free anent market this off season while having been of similar value to their teams over the last three years. However, Kubel was able to sign a two year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks that guarantees him $13.5 million more than Fukudome. Admittedly, Kubel is five years younger than Fukudome, but both players are two years removed from their best season in the big leagues. It’s a staggering difference in price.
With Carlos Quentin moving to San Diego this off season, Fukudome should slide nicely into the White Sox lineup, potentially getting more playing time than a typical fourth outfielder, with the unflattering outfield trio of Alejandro De Aza, Alex Rios and Dayan Viciedo already in place. With his low salary and team option for next season, he also has the added benefit of being likely trade bait for a competitive team in need of a left handed bat that can get on base.
All in all, at this price, Fukudome represents a smart pick up by the White Sox.