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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Veteran outfielder Fukudome eager for new opportunity with Hanshin Tigers

Kosuke Fukudome was re-introduced to the media on Saturday as the Central League’s Hanshin Tigers unveiled their biggest offseason signing.

The 35-year-old outfielder met the media after signing a three-year deal that will pay him ¥150 million next year with additional performance-based incentives. Second-year Tigers skipper Yutaka Wada also attended the press conference that attracted roughly 100 members of the media.

“My feelings are split 50-50. On the one hand my mind is clear. I think I’m going to be OK, but there’s a little anxiety,” he said. “Just seeing the number of reporters makes me think this team is something special, that this is a place where worthwhile things are done.”

Fukudome is not only returning to Japan after five years in the big leagues but also coming home to his baseball roots in the Kansai region, where he played high school and corporate league ball.

What is the track record of players returning to where they played corporate league ball?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 10, 2013 at 10:46 AM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hanshin tigers, japan, kosuke fukudome

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   1. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: January 10, 2013 at 12:23 PM (#4344183)
Was bummed that he didn't work out in MLB. Sure had an exciting first game for the Cubs.

I was also bummed that calling him "F-Bomb" never caught on. Admittedly, it would have helped if he would have hit some more dingers.
   2. Nasty Nate Posted: January 10, 2013 at 12:29 PM (#4344186)
Has Matsuzaka signed with anyone?
   3. Squash Posted: January 10, 2013 at 12:38 PM (#4344199)
150m Yen = $1.7 million USD.
   4. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: January 10, 2013 at 02:00 PM (#4344301)
It was morbidly fascinating to watch Fukudome smack the ball around the first month of the season and then turn into a pumpkin for the remainder of the year. Every_single_year.
   5. zonk Posted: January 10, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4344327)

Was bummed that he didn't work out in MLB. Sure had an exciting first game for the Cubs.


Ehhh... I'm not sure he really "didn't work out" -- I think it was more people expecting him to be more than he was/could be.

2300 PAs of 99 OPS+ isn't lighting the world on fire... but actually - if you exclude his first season - he post a 109 OPS+ and 260/373/428 slash line in about 1300 PAs. That's not half-bad, and when you consider he could at least play a passable CF when necessary -- probably worth roughly what the Cubs paid him.

The big problem is that it took the Cubs forever to finally realize he couldn't and never would be able to hit LHP... if they'd have accepted him as a straight platoon player from the get-go, his line would look even better; and, people kept expecting him to hit for more power rather than appreciating what he was: a guy (which the Cubs badly needed) who got on base at a really high clip.

All in all, if you had to do it over again?

I think I'd still be fine with him getting the same contract he got.
   6. smileyy Posted: January 10, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4344381)
I can't help but read his name as requesting sex in the same way that "*($# you, pay me!" requests money.
   7. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: January 10, 2013 at 03:36 PM (#4344406)
Agree on him being a platoon-caliber hitter. I think my "a-ha" moment that Fukudome was helpless against Southpaws came relatively early in 2009, when he came up in the 9th against a lefty for the Giants (I wanna say Affeldt) with the game on the line and Fukudome didn't come close to the ball in any of his three meager swings.

I do wonder how that affected him as the seasons went on. I obviously didn't pay much attention to him once he left the North Side, but I recall him looking pretty terrible in general against all pitching while with the White Sox. The Indians, too. He played for them, right?
   8. zonk Posted: January 10, 2013 at 03:42 PM (#4344417)
I do wonder how that affected him as the seasons went on. I obviously didn't pay much attention to him once he left the North Side, but I recall him looking pretty terrible in general against all pitching while with the White Sox. The Indians, too. He played for them, right?


Yeah - his Cubs only career, like I said (even if add in the line killing 2008) was actually pretty good... probably roughly worth (maybe not quite, but close) to what he got paid for those seasons.

career 260/366/402 against RHP
career 251/326/363 against LHP

But - if you look solely at his 2009, 2010, and half-2011 with the Cubs, it becomes even more stark (and the RHP slash line looks pretty damn respectable... not slugging corner OF respectable, but pretty darn good platoon OF who can play CF respectable).

Excluding April 2008, he had a down year with the Cubs... he was awful after going to Cleveland, and truly dreadful with the Sox -- but the heart of his Cubs career was just fine.
   9. TerpNats Posted: January 10, 2013 at 04:06 PM (#4344444)
Did that Johnny Holliday MASN promo from a few years back featuring his name reach YouTube?
   10. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 10, 2013 at 04:15 PM (#4344452)
It was morbidly fascinating to watch Fukudome smack the ball around the first month of the season and then turn into a pumpkin for the remainder of the year. Every_single_year.

lifetime in March/April: 333/440/503--he was never even close to that in any other month--his best was 281/364/441 in August, and as bad as 216 /316/326 in June

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