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 47 min 47 sec ago (view)
i dont have ESPN anymore since DirecTV Now raised their prices, so I have to rely on...umm...very legal and very cool ways for my ESPN fix.
Hagsag 55 min 29 sec ago (view)
Pat and Ron, no Aroid for me.
crunch 1 hour 6 min ago (view)
phew...last ESPN sunday cubs game until the williamsport little leage classic game Aug 18 vs PIT.
i really like the LLClassic and i'm stoked the cubs will play this year. i hope it sticks around for a long time.
QuietMan 1 hour 51 min ago (view)
crunch 2 hours 35 min ago (view)
t.barnette and d.hultzen worked today's IOW game. nice to have emerging options...
d.mekkes is continuing to be a future end-game reliever to keep an eye on, too. he's not making many team prospect lists, and he's not blowing anyone away, but he's steady getting it done.
crunch 2 hours 41 min ago (view)
mike trout will be a cub soon enough. woo! if they package both together the cubs might be able to snag griffin canning along with him.
Arizona Phil 5 hours 40 min ago (view)
If Ben Zobrist were to return to baseball sometime in the next few weeks or next couple of months, keep in mind that he does have a minor league option left, so he (like Craig Kimbrel) could consent to an Optional Assignment to the minors to get into playing shape.
Arizona Phil 6 hours 43 min ago (view)
As of today (6/16), Daniel Descalso and Brad Brach no longer have Article XX-B "no trade" rights and so they can be traded without restriction.
Arizona Phil 7 hours 14 min ago (view)
LF Nelson Maldonado, 3B Grayson Byrd, CF Zac Taylor, INF Jacob Olson, and INF-OF-C Bryce Windham (the five college senior position-player draft picks who officially signed last Tuesday and who have been active in AZL mini-camp for almost a week) should be ready to play in AZL games right from the gitgo.
The sixth college senior position player draft pick signed by the Cubs (LF Darius Hill, who signed officially on Thursday) might not be quite ready on AZL Opening Day.
Arizona Phil 7 hours 23 min ago (view)
Cubs 24th round draft pick 3B Grayson Byrd looks exactly like Justin Turner (at least above the neck). Long red hair and a full red beard. Now if he could only hit like Turner...
Arizona Phil 7 hours 23 min ago (view)
INF-OF Bryce Windham (32nd round pick - Old Dominion) worked out at catcher in "live" BP yesterday, so he could be the 6th Cubs AZL catcher (they really need three on both squads) if they don't add another catcher this week.
Arizona Phil 8 hours 44 min ago (view)
JustSayin': Brendan Sagara is the Mad Scientist who developed & implemented the high-tech Cubs Pitching Lab at the UAPC in Mesa. The Pitching Lab can't turn everybody into Jacob deGrom, but so far it has helped to develop Tyson Miller into a legit MLB SP prospect and bring Danny Hultzen back from the dead.
Jackstraw 13 hours 32 min ago (view)
I was watching the golf waiting for the Cubs to start and of course I fell asleep and then I had the weirdest dream. The Cubs were getting no hit but Darvish was pitching really well and then Jansen blew a save and then Strop actually closed the game out without a guy getting into scoring position. It's not like any of that stuff except the no hitter part could happen.
Sonicwind75 21 hours 15 min ago (view)
Yes indeed, feels like the Cubs stole one. Helluva 9th and another Darvish no decision. Could really use a few more starts like tonight from Darvish.
crunch 21 hours 19 min ago (view)
sweet f'n win. also, MIL lost.
cubs and brewers tied for 1st.
crunch 21 hours 34 min ago (view)
2r HR off jansen in the 9th! cubs lead 2-1!