Cubs Sign Kawasaki to Minor League Deal
Jon Paul Morosi at Fox Sports reports that the Cubs have signed veteran utility infielder Munenori Kawasaki to a 2016 minor league contract, and Paul Sullivan at the Chicago Tribune further reports that Kawasaki will receive an NRI to Spring Training with the big club.
Kawasaki essentially takes the place of Jonathan Herrera (who elected free-agency after being outrighted to the minors in October), although Kawasaki will have to beat-out Tommy LaStella and/or Javy Baez (as well as fellow NRI utility INF Kristopher Negron and Logan Watkins) for a spot on the Cubs 25-man Opening Day roster.
I suspect Kawasaki will likely end up at AAA Iowa (at least until June 1st - see last paragraph below), providing insurance in case something happens to either Addison Russell or Baez.
Playing nine-plus seasons for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in the NPB Pacific League, the left-handed hitting Kawasaki was an eight-time NPB All-Star, a two-time Gold Glove award winner, and he led the league in stolen bases once. He was a member of Team Japan in both the 2005 and 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Kawasaki signed a contract with the Seattle Mariners after the 2011 season, and he has bounced back & forth between AAA and MLB over the past four seasons (one with the Mariners, and then three with the Toronto Blue Jays).
The speedy but light-hitting 34-year old has hit 234/314/284 in 262 MLB games (712 PA) 2012-2015, providing glove-first plus-defense at SS-2B-3B.
Because of previous service time accrued in Japan (NPB) prior to signing his first contract with an MLB organization, Kawasaki is considered an Article XX-B player, and in fact he has been declared an Article XX-B MLB free-agent three times: post-2013, post-2014, and post-2015. (Kawasaki wasn't declared an Article XX-B MLB FA post-2012 because the Mariners released him in October, prior to the conclusion of the World Series).
An Article XX-B MLB free-agent who signs a minor league contract at least ten days prior to MLB Opening Day and then is either not released by 12 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day prior to MLB Opening Day or added to an MLB Active List (25-man roster) or MLB Disabled List by 3 PM (Eastern) on MLB Opening Day automatically receives a $100,000 retention bonus, and the player can unilaterally opt-out of the minor league contract on June 1st if he has not been added to an MLB Active List (25-man roster) or an MLB Disabled List by that date.
Eric S 1 hour 9 min ago (view)
And Joe pinch hits for Descalso again today - now 205/277/316 on the year. But no need to put a jumpy-jump in the parking lot during spring training like they did last year for TLS so it balances out.
crunch 1 hour 32 min ago (view)
tommy lastella hit his 12th homer of the year...grand slam.
tim815 2 hours 4 min ago (view)
Not sure why any of the teams would only have enough talent for one XSL game.
crunch 3 hours 17 min ago (view)
aww...cubs were a pest all game, but couldn't overcome.
crunch 3 hours 20 min ago (view)
omfg chatwood...with the bat.
crunch 3 hours 22 min ago (view)
RIP heyward's bat.
shout out to bo jackson...that was a clean break.
it was a swing/miss with no contact so it's doubtful it was a cracked bat.
Eric S 3 hours 48 min ago (view)
Bullpen reclamation project Kyle Ryan’s ERA now 5.06. Bummer
crunch 4 hours 5 min ago (view)
wow baez...also, wow rizzo.
call overturned, but that was a hell of an "almost" play.
crunch 6 hours 56 min ago (view)
he's thrown so little of his other stuff lately that i can't even guess and sure don't know.
he's always been fastball-heavy, but it's almost exclusively fastball now.
he gets movement on a 95-97mph fastball...that's a positive about it if he's gonna continously offer it up.
VirginiaPhil 7 hours 1 min ago (view)
crunch 7 hours 25 min ago (view)
schwarber / baez / rizzo / contreras / heyward / almora / descalso / lester / bote
i guess we're in for 2-20 random games of "pitcher hits 8th" before suddenly deciding that's not a thing anymore...again
crunch 13 hours 47 min ago (view)
it had to feel good for him to get that standing O at the home ballpark.
he's still throwing almost nothing but fastballs exclusively, though...wonder what's up with that.
Hagsag 14 hours 39 min ago (view)
Chatwood is becoming a force in the BP.
QuietMan 23 hours 18 min ago (view)
crunch 23 hours 37 min ago (view)
ALMORA GRAND SLAM!!!
way to break a tie.
crunch 1 day 23 min ago (view)