We’ve begun the Kosuke Fukudome Watch early here at MLBTR. A lot of good info was revealed in our May 2nd interview with Mike Plugh. A few months later Plugh wrote a more in-depth article about Fukudome at Baseball Prospectus. Fukudome will be a free agent this winter and doesn’t require a posting fee. The current estimate is $12-15MM annually over three or four seasons. He’s currently recovering from elbow surgery but will be ready by spring.
There has been some confusion regarding Fukudome’s position. While many have referred to him as a center fielder, Plugh told us he’s best in right field. Plugh said Fukudome could handle center but his defense would be questionable there. A return to the infield seems highly unlikely.
Fukudome’s position is an important question when it comes to the White Sox. They’ve got Jermaine Dye locked in at right field, and there’s no where else for him to go. They also want to try Josh Fields in left to leave room for Joe Crede at third. Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune says Fukudome could be an option for the Sox in center if they don’t sign Torii Hunter. Additionally, Susan Slusser tosses the Giants into the mix. Apparently Dave Roberts and Randy Winn wouldn’t be considered obstacles.
A review of previous Fukudome rumors: Will Carroll said back in April that the Red Sox were eyeing him. It seems the Sox would not have room for Fukudome though. Rogers speculated in May that the Cubs could get involved. Dan Graziano confirmed the Red Sox, Cubs, and White Sox while adding the Yankees to the list of suitors.