Fukudome Wants To Play In MLB, With Cubs

Kosuke Fukudome, whose contract expires after the coming season, told MLB.com's Carrie Muskat that he wants to continue his MLB career after 2011 (Twitter link). The 33-year-old, who bought a house in Chicago, says he'd like to remain with the Cubs.

Fukudome earns $13.5MM this year in the final season of the four-year, $48MM deal he signed before the 2008 season. He hit .263/.371/.439 with 13 homers in 429 plate appearances last year. The left-handed hitter may not have lived up to expectations, but he does have a .368 OBP in his three years in the majors.

54 Responses to Fukudome Wants To Play In MLB, With Cubs Leave a Reply

  1. He hasn’t been the run producer we had hoped for, BUT I still somehow kinda like the guy. If his salary wasn’t so high, I don’t think there would be nearly the hate for him. Very interested to see how he plays under Quade this year.

    • Yep, agreed Smurf. He can play, just not up to his salary. If he were earning less he’d arguably be a lot more popular.

  2. He pretty much did exactly what I expected of him, no power high OBP decent in the field. The Cubs just spent too much on him.

  3. rockfordone 4 years ago

    He should probably look to play in the Northern League next year. He’s horrible

    • grownice 4 years ago

      his salary is horrible, but hes not a bad player at all, just not great.

      • start_wearing_purple
        start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

        No actually, he’s kinda bad. He’s kinda been below league average for outfielders in OPS, WAR, and UZR. If he wants to stick around Chicago he’s gonna have to take a major pay cut.

        • rockfordone 4 years ago

          If he has a good April, hits .300 – Hendry will extend him for 3yrs at 30M

          • Brad426 4 years ago

            Well see, that’s $10M per year when his old contract was $12M per year… Hendry is no fool.

          • $1529282 4 years ago

            Someone missed the point of that last post……..

          • Brad426 4 years ago

            OR, someone was being (I thought very obviously) sarcastic.

        • JD 4 years ago

          He’s still been worth 5.5 WAR over the last 3 years.

          That is not “northern league” worthy.

          He’s a pretty good player, slightly overpaid but people make it sound like he’s Kei Igawa.

      • popular_mechanics_for_pitchers 4 years ago

        I have a cousin named sal ray…..

        • grownice 4 years ago

          Does he make jokes about minor spelling mistakes as well?

          • popular_mechanics_for_pitchers 4 years ago

            Yes! He’s very witty, I’ll let him know you enjoyed it

    • Brad426 4 years ago

      He’s a bad contract, but he’s certainly not “horrible”. He’d be a good value at say $3M per year.

  4. disgustedcubfan 4 years ago

    I’d take him back as a 4th outfielder, late inning defensive replacement type of player.
    2 years, 5-6 million.

  5. donjuandemarco 4 years ago

    If he had any sort of dignity whatsoever, he’d offer the Cubs the first right to resign him at $2 Mil per year for his robbery. He’s been a waste and clogging up the OF. He’s worth $2M as a defensive replacement late in games. Nothing more.

    • start_wearing_purple
      start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

      I didn’t realize he held a gun to Hendry’s head and said “sign this or die.”

      • donjuandemarco 4 years ago

        Don’t give me that…..other teams offered more. He was coming over here to get the money. He was tagged as a guy with speed, power and a good glove. He’s had a good glove and that’s pretty much it. He hasnt’ lived up to it and that twirly strike out thing is horrible and he’s not getting better. He hasnt’ lived up to it and should man up!

        • briantalletsmoustache 4 years ago

          But if “other teams offered more” and he “was coming over here to get the money” . . . . .

        • start_wearing_purple
          start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

          It’s baseball. Since when is something guaranteed. Maybe Hendry should start scouting better or for that matter realize he should stay away from a checkbook?

        • So did you want him to take steroids like ARod because of the presure to live up to the contract? Theres ALWAYS risk in signing guys to big deals if he doesnt live up to it oh well that doesnt mean he doesnt have dignity if he goes somewhere else thats offering more money. Its a buisness

        • disgustedcubfan 4 years ago

          Which is tougher to watch. Fukudome’s twirling strike outs or Soriano’s slider in the dirt, a foot outside strike outs.

          • GoCubs10 4 years ago

            or soriano’s fairy hop in the outfield

    • He has been worth more than $2M every year he has played so far. The failure is more in the fans for not understanding the value of OBP and less his own. He is a 1.5-2.5 WAR player which makes him a roughly average major league player.

      • donjuandemarco 4 years ago

        I’ve been following the game my whole life and fully understand the value of OBP. Even with his OBP, he’s not worth much. I may have exaggerated a bit when I said he’s not worhth $2 Mil….but seriously…he’s not worth half his contract. Even with the OBP and WAR.

        • vonno 4 years ago

          Why would he not be worth 6 mil per year? Take a look at guys with similar stats and you won’t find many working for peanuts that are beyond arbitration years. Last year he hit 13 homers in limited playing time. He also puts out his best effort every day without bitching about it. His OBP is very valuable considering he is not one of those slugs on the basepaths. If the Cubs could replace Soriano, I’d be fine with Fuku being a regular or at least a consistent platoon player.

  6. safari_punch 4 years ago

    8 years 189 million.

  7. Randall 4 years ago

    Go to the Nats for 5 years $250 million.

    • Whoa whoa, there. 5 years? More like 7.
      Fu-ku-do-me wants some job security.

  8. gcheezpuff 4 years ago

    Sure….. Does he want to be a 4th outfielder and play for significantly less money. No way he is a cub next year.

  9. bacon_bitz 4 years ago

    Great plate discipline, a little bit of pop and solid D. I don’t get all the hate this guy gets. It’s not his fault the Cubs overpaid him…Would you turn down $48 mil just because you don’t think your good enough?

    • True. He was supposed to be a cross between Ichiro and Matsui and he obviously isn’t. Still, he is not a bad player, his only “problem” is being overpaid. Like I said before, if he were being paid appropriately a lot more people would like him.

      • foxtown 4 years ago

        Why aren’t people angry at Jim Hendry instead? He has handed out so many redonkulous contracts and they all look awful.

        • jb226 4 years ago

          Because with few exceptions, the contracts either didn’t look horrible at the time or looked horrible for other reasons than they failed.

          – Fukudome. I won’t defend the dollars, he hasn’t been worth that. But I think he’s mostly sunk by unfair expectations. His OPS has been improving every year, he plays a pretty strong defensive right field and I think he’s finally starting to show that 20 HR power we thought he might have — the problem is, for better or worse, we gave up on him after the first year and he is relegated to a fourth outfielder role. Give Hendry some blame for the contract (which was NOT the highest offer he received, by the way) but I don’t think anybody would be complaining if Fukudome was in Chicago on a $8-10MM contract and getting a season’s worth of ABs.

          – Zambrano was an elite pitcher when he got paid. His theatrics aside, he managed to perform. Nobody would care if he was destroying Gatorade machines if he was still dominating hitters. The contract is only looking bad because the performance has deteriorated and, right or wrong, more focus is being placed on his–let’s be blunt–craziness off the mound. I don’t give much blame to Hendry here.

          – Milton Bradley was a huge gamble. Lots of people expected him to be a complete nutjob, lots of people even expected him to be a team cancer — but I don’t recall anybody who said “Milton Bradley is not going to perform.” And in fact, the accurate prediction would have been “Milton Bradley is not going to perform ever again.” Hendry definitely deserves some blame here, for overlooking the character issues so highly if nothing else. But Jack Z obviously thought Bradley was going to perform (in a smaller, less pressure-filled market) too. His prime goal was, no doubt, to get rid of Carlos Silva. But let’s not forget he also sent $9MM over. Evening out the money on the deal, even including the buyout of Silva’s option, would have been $5MM. He seems to have thought he was getting the better end of the deal.

          – Soriano. The contract was a win-now move. Pretty much everybody knew the contract would come back to bite the Cubs in the latter years, and I’m sure in a moment of complete honesty, Jim Hendry would tell you that too. I don’t recall anybody who predicted it would bite them almost instantly. I don’t believe anybody predicted that a 40/40/40 player–one of only a handful in history–would never again come within 7 home runs of 40 (and that was his BEST year) or within 21 (!!) steals of 40. It’s also worth noting that a lot of this contracts’ blame has to be placed on the Tribune company trying to drive up the price of the franchise for its impending sale. There’s enough blame to go around for Hendry on this one, but laying it all at his feet wouldn’t be fair.

          – Grabow? Too much money for sure, but I don’t think anybody predicted the first half of his deal would be for 25.2 innings. Meh, fine, blame him for that one.

          – Miles? Yeah, screwed the pooch here too. He was never worth the money. Then again, he never performed as poorly as he did either. The problem for Hednry was more “Aaron Miles at his best wasn’t worth what he got paid” than “wow, how much did Aaron Miles suck?”

          – Lee? Lived up to his contract. He had up years and down years, but paying $65MM for $64.9MM in value over a five-year extension isn’t bad. And getting him for Hee Seop Choi was a lolfest.

          – Ramirez? He’s lived up to it so far, even including his abysmal 2010 and injury-shortened 2009.

          In other words, yeah, he deserves some blame. Some contracts have turned sour on him, some weren’t good ideas to begin with, but most that did go sour went sour in ways that I can’t recall anybody ever predicting. Players not living up to contracts is just life in baseball, and all we can ask of our GMs is that the contracts don’t seem ridiculous at the time they’re signed. Some swings and misses are just par for the course for a GM in MLB.

          What really bothered me about Hendry, and what finally had me calling for his head this year was how much I hated the Matt Garza trade. The Cubs are NOT winning this year. Decimating the farm for a #2 pitcher who might not even fair well in Wrigley bothers me endlessly. Particularly since we had just gotten our farm back in a respectable position.

        • GoCubs10 4 years ago

          i have hated Hendry for the longest time…i bet Ricketts will get rid of him when his contract is up…Hendry’s successor is already the vice GM his name is Gregg Maddux

  10. Jonathan Stone 4 years ago

    Fukodome and $2M for Napoli and Rivera would have been the better deal for both the Angels and Cubs. Then the Cubs could have skipped the one year Pena deal by playing Napoli at 1B and stuck Rivera in their outfield mix. The Angels would have been payroll neutral with a Fukodome providing better legs in LF to keep that spot warm for Trout/Trumbo in 2012.

  11. Stl_Great 4 years ago

    Cards are gonna sign him as retaliation after the cubs sign Pujols. =(

  12. I would like Fukudome a lot more if he and the Cubs would explore a move to 2B. His numbers would be good in that position, but not for an outfielder playing in homer happy Wrigley Field.

    • I like that idea… I wonder if the Cubs brass has ever considered that as a possibility. He started out as a shortstop in Japan and he still seems athletic enough to handle the position. It’s not like we’ve had a gold glover at the second sack since Sandberg anyways. I would take a few extra errors if he could play 2B, and bat lead off.

      • ugen64 4 years ago

        it’s rare for outfielders to move to middle infield at this stage in their career. Schumaker is the obvious example, but he’s a butcher at 2B – career -12.9 UZR/150 at second base. and that’s just one case. I can’t think of another player who made this move, and actually got regular playing time as an infielder. normally the superutility types are infielders first, outfielders second.

  13. daveineg 4 years ago

    At best, he’s ranks 4th among right fielders in the division and any bounce back by Berkman or revert to 09 form by Jones, and Fukudome would rank last. He’s a $3 million starter for a bad team or an extra outfielder on a good team.

  14. AaronAngst 4 years ago

    I remember when many of ESPN’s “analysts” were going ga-ga over him at the time of the signing. Everyone said he’d put the Cubs over the top, and into the Series. To claim he isn’t a major disappointment, and a downright awful signing is… something. Reeeeaaallly something.

  15. Milmurph 4 years ago

    He will be gone because the team has other cheaper options coming up from the minors

  16. Milmurph26 4 years ago


  17. No one wants you back Fukudome..you were a complete bust and I hate you and your spin swing

  18. GoCubs10 4 years ago

    Fukudome will be gone but the only way i can see him back is if he takes less pay…the cubs have more players that they need to sign (resign: ramierez and demptster FA: Poljus or Fielder) he would be a good 6 mil for 2 years contract

  19. davewpeterson 4 years ago

    Fukudome is a C++ outfielder with average hitting, above average OBP, & on the better side of the scale as a baserunner/fielder. It’s been said for years that he (and a slew of other Cubs players) is overpaid for his contribution. The anger over his contract is misplaced on him and I suspect few here would turn down a job they were overpaid for. Will he play for the Cubs next year? Likely not unless he turns in a superb year and/or is named World Series MVP** or he takes a serious salary cut.

    ** While playing for the Cubs

  20. but but but… he started in the All-Star game! :)

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