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.
crunch 22 min 46 sec ago (view)
paul dejong (STL) took out the M in the "BIG MAC LAND" sign @STL with a big HR...lights went out on the letter and everything. epic-ish.
crunch 29 min 30 sec ago (view)
i know bote will be back in a couple weeks, but dude has been hitting damn well since mid-july after having a big june/july slump.
Eric S 35 min 17 sec ago (view)
David Bote sent down to Iowa today prior to Cishek’s activation off the IL tomorrow — nice of the Cubs do their part to help the I-Cubs down the stretch
Cubster 1 hour 26 min ago (view)
And the Brewers are being no hit by Hudson thru 6.
crunch 2 hours 39 min ago (view)
never really considered how that might be cool for people used to seeing those midwest fields as an everyday occurance. in the south-east US you rarely see the vastly massive acerage of farm-against-farm-against-farm-etc...
also, i spent a good amount of time out in corn fields in ames, iowa in my last job. everyone wanted to go work the research fields in hawaii, but we always ended up in iowa.
Sonicwind75 4 hours 15 min ago (view)
Hey, I'm pretty excited about the Field of Dreams game. I grew up on a farm in middle of nowhere Iowa and my brother and I spent a lot of time trying to hit baseballs into a corn field. I'm seriously considering coming back next summer from Texas to go to that game if prices aren't super stupid expensive. Added bonus, I won't have to listen to A-Rod and Mendoza ignorantly discussing corn and no, you don't eat field corn like you would sweet corn.
Dolorous Jon Lester 16 hours 20 min ago (view)
That is truly staggering. Shame on the rest of the Central that we are only one loss behind the pissboys, we should have been buried by now with that kind of stat.
crunch 1 day 26 min ago (view)
...and strop gives up a hit then walks the bases loaded.
...and he closes it out with a K. neat.
this is the 1st cubs road series win since May 17-19 @WAS.
crunch 1 day 34 min ago (view)
strop comes in to get the last out, but it has to be some kinda slow-walk back in a game that wasn't a save situation.
homer, hbp, k, k...looks healthy.
crunch 1 day 42 min ago (view)
welcome back kimbrel.
1st pitch goes about 10 miles outside the park by marte.
crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
one takeaway from this game...a slew of cubs players were fans of Hey Arnold! when they were kids.
crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
woo, a good cubs away game.
crunch 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
heyward / cast / bryant / rizzo / baez / schwarb / caratini / kemp(2nd) / Q
crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
so stoked for the williamsport game.
the increasing amount of off-site games is a bit concerning (middle of nowhere Field of Dreams field, really?), but I love this one. it's played out great so far and giving the kids playing in the LL series some primo seats (hope this continues) is a great touch.
Arizona Phil 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
Craig Kimbrel reinstated from IL, Duane Underwood Jr optioned to Iowa, Mark Zagunis recalled as the "26th man" for tonight's game (special travel required to get to Williamsport so MLB Comissioner permits 26th man for both clubs).
crunch 2 days 1 hour ago (view)