Cubs Re-sign Munenori Kawasaki
It was initially reported as a rumor by Japanese media earlier in the week, but Baseball America is now confiming that the Cubs have indeed re-signed INF Munenori Kawasaki to a 2017 minor league contract. He will almost certainly receive a NRI to Spring Training.
Now 35, Kawasaki spent twelve seasons in NPB (the Japanese major league) with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, hitting 294/345/378 with 267 SB in 1,145 NPB games 2000-11. He was an eight-time NPB All-Star, a two-time Gold Glove winner, he led the NPB in stolen bases once, and was a member of Team Japan in the WBC in 2006 and 2009. He was also a fan favorite, one of the most-popular players in Japan.
Kawasaki became an unrestricted free-agent after the 2011 season, and was signed by the Seattle Mariners in December 2011. Over the past five seasons with Seattle, the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Cubs, Kawasaki has logged more Plate Appearances in AAA than he has in MLB, hitting a combined 237/320/289 in 276 MLB games (738 PA) and a combined 255/346/312 in 233 AAA games (815 PA). He hit 255/352/312 in 102 games at AAA Iowa in 2016, almost matching exactly his AAA numbers from the previous four seasons. He is what's known in baseball as a high-contact small-ball slap-hitter (no power, a good bunter, and tough to strike out).
Although he is no longer the player he was in Japan, Kawasaki is still an outstanding defender at SS, 2B, and 3B, and he still runs very well, too. "Moonie" (as he is known) also is a very funny man, keeping his teammates and the media in stitches with his dancing, one-liners, and hilarious interviews.
Kawasaki will likely serve as the utility infielder (SS-2B-3B) at AAA Iowa in 2017, and because he is an outstanding defensive shortstop, will probably get first-call if anything happens to Addison Russell or Javier Baez. However, Kawasaki is out of minor league options (he had a 4th mnor league option available in 2016, and it was spent), so if the Cubs add Kawasaki to the MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2017, he can't be sent back to the minors without first passing through waivers, and he can elect to be a free-agent if he is sent outright to the minors after being added to the 40. So it won't be quite as easy for the Cubs to move Kawasaki up from Des Moines to Chicago and then back again to Des Moines as it was last year.
Also, Kawasaki is an Article XX-B player, so he will receive a $100K retention bonus if he isn't added to the MLB 40-man roster by Opening Day, and he will also receive an automattic June 1st opt-out if he isn't added to the 40 by 6/1. Last year, the Cubs got around that by releasing Kawasaki and two other Article XX-B players signed to minor league contracts (LHRP Manny Parra and OF Shane Victorino) five days prior to MLB Openng Day and then re-signing each of them to another (different) 2016 minor league contract without the Article XX-B rights. (An Article XX-B player gets the $100K retention bonus and automatic 6/1 opt-out only if he signs a minor league contract at least ten days prior to MLB Opening Day, so by releasing Kawasaki, Parra, and Victorino and then re-signing them to a new 2016 minor league contract five days prior to Opening Day, the Article XX-B rights no longer applied).
Mike Wellman 1 hour 1 min ago (view)
One 2 women umps in MiLB worked the SB series. Pal of our son’s from LL days was SB clubhouse mgr. this year. He spoke highly of Emma’s work but said visiting teams often did not. Also spoke highly of B-Zo on his brief rehab stay when he bought the team McD’s, a la Prez Dollar Menu. So, 2 Cub branches made playoffs so far. Can the big Cubs make it 3?
JustSayin' 9 hours 16 min ago (view)
South Bend won seven post-season games. No team they played won any against them. So the Midwest League Cubs run the table and win the Championship! A couple recurring offensive stars, solid defense and lots of strong pitching did the trick.
crunch 12 hours 7 min ago (view)
home or away for WAS...they can throw scherzer, strasburg, or corbin at anyone down the stretch and still have an ace for the 1-game wildcard.
that should play well into their advantage in the last couple weeks as well as the WC playoff. if the cubs can't luck their way back into 1st it's going to be a hell of a Wild Card if WAS is in no matter who's on top of the WC standings.
Charlie 12 hours 41 min ago (view)
Might as well catch the Cards while they're at it ;)
Last time I can remember the division and the Wild Card race this tight was 2015. Funny how similar and yet how different that situation was!
crunch 13 hours 40 min ago (view)
the funny thing is, like early-career randy johnson, batters are extremely uneasy in the box when facing him. part of that helps lead to weak contact and Ks...it also leads to walks and HBPs, though...
Craig A. 14 hours 24 min ago (view)
Cubs better aim for the first wild card. There’ a very slim chance we beat Washington at home.
Craig A. 14 hours 26 min ago (view)
So we keep Maples for intimidation?
crunch 15 hours 50 sec ago (view)
maples showcasing how he can fall apart from batter to batter...from a sick 3-pitch K to a 2-2 HBP to a 3-1 HBP.
it's all wild, not retalitory...umps in a bad place since warnings were given based on early HBP's by PIT and maples is tossed. even PIT doesn't think it was intentional and their dugout is calm.
crunch 15 hours 50 min ago (view)
236 homers...franchise record previously set in 2004.
hoerner puts the team over the top.
crunch 16 hours 48 min ago (view)
maddon (whether he's here next season or not) seems to be in no hurry to get him work. it's actually a bit impressive how we've not heard even a shred of shade about his lack of use from descalso.
...but he did see what the organization did to pretty much end tony barnette's career...so there's that. i think lastella ruined throwing roster movement and player use tantrums for everyone.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 33 min ago (view)
I can’t imagine they go into next season like that. He’s been insanely bad.
crunch 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
Eric S 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
He gets infrequent pinch hitting appearances - and seemingly K’s in each one.
I guess Descalso is the back up plan to start at second next season should Hoerner get injured while cliff diving or hit by falling space debris in the off season
Hagsag 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
Roller coaster crunch.lol
crunch 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
i keep forgetting descalso is back with the cubs. he's practically been shelved on the pine.
crunch 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
South Bend Cubs (YouTube)