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White Sox Add Fukudome

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Feb 15, 2012 2:30PM

Seeking some insurance for their outfield, the White Sox signed former Cubs outfielder Kosuke Fukudome Tuesday. The deal guarantees Fukudome only $1 million, half of that this year. That means he'll be earning something near the league minimum salary in 2012.

The Sox hold an option for 2013 that could be worth as much as $3.5 million, with a $500,000 buyout. His South Side paychecks will be substantially smaller than they were when he played on the North Side. Fukudome joined the Cubs in 2007 following a high profile but quick bidding war that saw the Japanese outfielder land a 4 year, $48 million deal.

Fukudome never quite lived up to expectations for the former Japanese star, despite making the All-Star team as a rookie. His play slowed after a hot start, and in three and a half seasons as the Cubs' primary right fielder, plus a short stint in Cleveland, Fukudome has averaged about 11 home runs and 48 RBIs to go along with a .260 lifetime batting average.

For the White Sox, Fukudome becomes a low cost insurance policy for a team that will have two outfielders slotted into the starting line-up as everyday players for the first time in their careers. Dayan Viciedo is expected to play right field, while Alejandro De Aza patrols left field. Neither has been an everyday player in the Big Leagues yet. Centerfielder Alex Rios, who hit just .227 last season, could also be a concern if he doesn't bounce back in 2012.

Fukudome is just the latest of many players to have moved across town. 169 players have donned both the Cubs' and Sox's uniforms during their careers. Some of the most prominent have included Sammy Sosa, Hall of Famer Ron Santo, and current Sox broadcasters Steve Stone and Darrin Jackson. With Fukudome on the South Side, we can only imagine that the offensive t-shirts playing off his name and nationality will surface outside The Cell come April.