Kosuke Fukudome Rumors

Kosuke Fukudome Signs With Hanshin Tigers

Outfielder Kosuke Fukudome signed with the Hanshin Tigers earlier this offseason according to a Sponichi report passed along by Patrick Newman at NPB Tracker. The Octagon client received a three-year deal worth roughly $5.5MM.

Fukudome, 35, hit .171/.294/.195 in 51 plate appearances for the White Sox last year before being released at midseason. He signed a minor league deal with the Yankees and hit .276/.440/.378 in 166 Triple-A plate appearances to close out the season. Fukudome is a .258/.359/.395 career hitter at the big league level with the Cubs, Indians, and ChiSox.

Yankees Release Kosuke Fukudome

The Yankees have released outfielder Kosuke Fukudome, according to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Director of Media Relations Mike Vander Woude (via Twitter).  Fukudome's stint in the Yankees organization was short-lived after signing a minor league deal back in mid-July.

The White Sox cut Fukudome loose in June after signing him to a one-year, $1MM contract in over the winter.  The 35-year-old would play in just in 24 games for Chicago while posting a .171/.294/.195 slash line in 51 plate appearances.  In five big league seasons, Fukudome owns a .258/.359/.395 batting line for the Cubs, Indians, and White Sox.

Yankees Sign Kosuke Fukudome

The Yankees signed Kosuke Fukudome to a minor league contract, Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger reports (on Twitter). The outfielder is expected to report to New York's Triple-A affiliate.

The White Sox signed Fukudome to a one-year, $1MM contract in February then released him in June. The 35-year-old appeared in 24 games for the White Sox and posted a .171/.294/.195 batting line in 51 plate appearances while playing all three outfield positions. The White Sox placed him on the 15-day disabled list with back spasms in June then reinstated him from the DL on the day of his release.

White Sox Release Kosuke Fukudome

June 27: The White Sox officially released Fukudome on Tuesday, according to Aaron Gleeman of NBCSports.com.

June 22: The White Sox announced that they reinstated Kosuke Fukudome from the 15-day disabled list and designated the outfielder for assignment. They placed right-hander Philip Humber on the disabled list and purchased the contract of right-hander Brian Bruney in related moves.

The White Sox signed Fukudome to a one-year, $1MM contract with a club option for 2013 back in February. The 35-year-old appeared in 24 games for the White Sox and posted a .171/.294/.195 batting line in 51 plate appearances while playing all three outfield positions. The White Sox placed him on the 15-day disabled list with back spasms earlier this month.

Quick Hits: Ordonez, Fukudome, Rizzo

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White Sox To Sign Kosuke Fukudome

The White Sox announced that they have agreed to sign Kosuke Fukudome to a one-year, $1MM contract that includes a club option for 2013. The outfielder will earn $500K in 2012 and the $3.5MM option for 2013 includes a $500K buyout.

Fukudome posted a .262/.342/.370 line for the Cubs and Indians in 530 plate appearances last year. The 34-year-old posted career-lows in on-base percentage and slugging percentage while playing right and center field. The Mets had some interest in him earlier in the offseason.

Mets Looking For Left-Handed Bat Off Bench

The Mets are looking for a veteran left-handed bat for the bench and are looking at options such as Rick Ankiel, Kosuke Fukudome, Raul Ibanez, and Johnny Damon, two team insiders tell Andy Martino of the New York Daily News

Ibanez and Damon appear to be less of a fit as the Mets as they would prefer more at-bats and have less defensive versatility than the links of Ankiel and Fukudome.  Either one of those outfielders would provide Terry Collins with a lefty pinch-hitter, an occasional platoon partner for Jason Bay, and insurance against the club's starters.

Willie Harris signing with the Reds left the Mets with two unproven lefties off the bench in Mike Baxter and Adam Loewen.  The club is prepared to begin Spring Training with only Baxter and Loewen, but that is a less likely scenario, one insider told Martino.

The Mets could be helped by Juan Pierre's agreement on Friday with the Phillies and the abundance of left-handed outfielders on the open market.  Pierre agreed to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training on Friday.

Mets Monitoring Outfield Market

The Mets are "diligently monitoring" the market for left-handed-hitting outfielders such as Johnny Damon, Kosuke Fukudome, Rick Ankiel, Raul Ibanez and Juan Pierre, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. Crasnick adds that the surplus of players who fit that bill affords the cash-strapped Mets with some much-needed negotiating leverage (Twitter links).

Andres Torres is the Mets' projected starting center fielder, and he'll be flanked by Jason Bay in left and perhaps a platoon of Scott Hairston and Lucas Duda in right, so it's unclear as to what role one of the above-mentioned players would fill.

As our Transaction Tracker shows, it's been a pretty quiet offseason for the Mets, their most notable moves being the acquisitions of Torres and relievers Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez.

Rosenthal On Fukudome, Uehara, Orioles, Jackson

A look at the latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports..

  • Kosuke Fukudome wants to remain in the majors, according to a source with knowledge of his thinking.  Some executives, however, believe he could end up back in Japan.  The Brewers had interest in Fukudome before signing Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki.
  • Rangers right-hander Koji Uehara enjoyed his time so much in Baltimore that he recommended the Orioles to the two free-agents the team signed out of the Japanese league, Tsuyoshi Wada and Wei-Yin Chen, according to a major-league source.  A trade back to the O's is possible for Uehara, who rejected a deal to the Blue Jays this week.
  • The Red Sox are talking to Edwin Jackson, who might be open to a one-year pact. However, one executive points out that the AL East isn't an easy landing spot for a starting pitcher. If Jackson signs for one year, he might be better off in the NL, where he could produce better numbers before trying the open market again.
  • The bright side of the Nationals’ failure to sign Prince Fielder is that it allows the club to retain positional flexibility, particularly in center field.  A long-term deal for the slugger eventually might have pushed the Nats to use an outfield of Michael Morse in left, Jayson Werth in center and Bryce Harper in right.  Now, they can move Morse to first after Adam LaRoche plays out his contract this season and go after a center fielder.

Reds Have Some Interest In Ross, Ankiel, Ludwick

The Reds are looking for depth in left field, and though they maintain some interest in Cody Ross, they haven’t had discussions about Johnny Damon, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. GM Walt Jocketty acknowledged interest in Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The agent for Kosuke Fukudome called the team as well.

Left fielder Chris Heisey hit 18 homers and posted a .797 OPS in 2011, but the Reds have just four outfielders on their 40-man roster and will likely add depth before Opening Day. They traded outfield options Yonder Alonso and Dave Sappelt in recent deals for pitching.

The Mets and Nationals have been linked to Ankiel this offseason, while the Athletics and Giants have been linked to Ludwick. This is the first we’ve heard of Fukudome since the regular season ended.