Kenny Williams, the Chicago White Sox GM, has agreed with Kosuke Fukudome on a one-year contract with a club option for 2013, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. Fukudome hit .260 last season and will provide outfield depth for Robin Ventura's White Sox.
Fukudome is set to only make $500,000 in 2012, so this is a pretty safe signing for the White Sox. Fukudome will be 35 years old in 2012, so it's not like he's a young prospect for the Sox to develop.
After my initial shock at the deal (I didn't see this coming), I actually like this move for the White Sox. Fukudome is a solid .260 hitter and can get on base at a very nice clip of .360. He won't hit for a ton of power, but he can hit about 10 home runs (maybe 15 at U.S. Cellular) if he plays a full season.
Now, I know the White Sox didn't sign him to start, as well they shouldn't have. But, really think about this for a second.
The Sox outfield for 2012 is Alex Rios, Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo.
Getting some quality depth is a good thing that could help the Sox a lot. Fukudome can play any position (mostly center and right, though) and is a good value at $500,000 next year.
Have you really thought about it, though?
Alex Rios is starting for us next year, and he absolutely sucks. If he can't hit a baseball—as usual—next year, then Fukudome could take over his starting position and we'd be much better.
Fukudome can hit .260 and get on base at a good clip, and every Sox fan knows that's way better than the awful Alex Rios.
This deal could turn out a lot better than people might think at first.
Fukudome is not an ideal starter for any team, especially the rebuilding White Sox. However, Fukudome is not coming to Chicago to start, and if he doesn't he would be a great fourth outfielder. He also would be a great guy to replace Rios (or Dunn) in the starting lineup.
Kenny Williams might have finally gotten something right this offseason, and I, for one, am very thankful.