Chicago Cubs: Five worst free agent signings in history

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Kosuke Fukudome – signed 2007 – 4 years, $48 million

Kosuke Fukudome came into Chicago with a lot of hype.  After the success Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui had coming to the United States from Japan, Fukudome was expected to do as much – if not more.  Many reports had labeled Fukudome as a better player than Suzuki and Matsui, at least he was a more well-rounded player.  He was near the same level as Suzuki as a defensive outfielder but also showed the plus power that Matsui had – essentially he had shown the best of both players – or so we were told.

His Chicago Cubs career started off with a bang.  On Opening Day, he hit a game-tying home run off Dodgers closer Eric Gagne.  He was an instant celebrity among Cubs fans.  After a hot start the season and being named an All-Star for the National League, he started to slow down and got into quite the slump.  The season seemed to wear him down quickly and his batting average dropped quickly.  What started out as a promising season, ended up being average – at best.  Fukudome finished with a .257 average with 10 home runs and 58 runs batted in.

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Much like his first season, in both 2009 and 2010, Fukudome started out very well, but again slowed down quickly. Eventually, the Chicago Cubs lost faith in Fukudome as an everyday player and would then find him as a platoon outfielder largely competing for regular playing time with Reed Johnson and Milton Bradley.

In 2011, Fukudome’s time with the Chicago Cubs came to an end.  A trade was made with Cleveland for two minor league prospects.  While Fukudome came in with all the hype of being possibly better than Suzuki and Matsui, he didn’t have even a fraction of the impact that they both had in their careers.