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 2 hours 28 min ago (view)
the indians waited too long to get trevor bauer away from influencing clevenger as a professional and human being...
there's a reason bauer has been sold "below cost" by 2 teams now.
also, do they even care that carlos carrasco is coming back from a boatload of chemo and has decided to participate in this season when he could have just taken his $$ and gone home for a year?
crunch 6 hours 10 min ago (view)
thursday stl/det double header postponed.
cards have played 5 games and might not play a 6th until the weekend...maybe.
some other teams will be 20+ games played at that point.
Eric S 6 hours 52 min ago (view)
Dietrich ends up with the Rangers on a minor league deal and sent to their alternate training site.
Cubster 7 hours 34 min ago (view)
No new Cardinals tested negative on Sunday. They need two days in a row of neg. testing to get the OK to resume the season. Today's tests are not back.
crunch 9 hours 1 min ago (view)
STL is going to go 1/2 month without playing a game...more at this point are possible.
they've played 5 games. some teams have played 16-17 games.
Childersb3 9 hours 26 min ago (view)
Why isn't Ryan Jensen at South Bend these days?
Regardless of if he gets called up. He should be there if he's healthy and able
crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
"Zach Plesac (CLE) was sent home by the Indians and will be quarantined for 72 hours going out with friends in Chicago on Saturday night."
Eric S 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
Cubs have reset the rotation ahead of the series against the Indians: Lester, Hendricks, Darvish, Chatwood and Mills
Mills and Hendricks no longer back to back which makes sense given their similar styles
Mornington Crescent 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
They actually did a Strat-O-Matic simulation of the 1981 all star game at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland when the game was cancelled due to the strike, complete with scoreboard display. Bob Feller did the ceremonial first dice roll.
Arizona Phil 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
Derek Dietrich getting released and opening up a slot on the Cubs MLB Club Player Pool roster (which was full prior to Dietrich getting released) would allow Mark Zagunis to opt back into the season (if he so chooses) and return to the Club Player Pool, if being on the Restricted List was going to prevent him from being a first-time minor league 6YFA post-2020.
Arizona Phil 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
The path for Dietrich to the Cubs MLB Active List roster was always based on a potential injury to Rizzo, Kipnis, Schwarber, or Heyward, so I can see why Dietrich would request his release - IF - he has a for sure MLB gig with another club waiting for him, but otherwise no.
Eric S 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
Cubs released Derek Dietrich from his minor league contract - at Dietrich's request - so he can pursue other MLB opportunities. Wouldn't be surprised if he hooks on with the Braves as 2B Ozzie Albies was put on the IL last week with a wrist injury that may take considerable time to heal. In any event, the Cubs player pool back to 59 of a possible 60 players.
Cubster 1 day 13 hours ago (view)
Phillip Evans suffered a broken jaw and a concussion in his ugly collision with Gregory Polanco Per Jon Heyman.
Cubster 1 day 14 hours ago (view)
Pirates-Cardinals series also cancelled. Maybe they can play the games on Stratomatic with dice or All-Star baseball with spinners?
This was the Pirates only trip to StL but they do have a mid Sept series vs StL in PIT.
at least the Cardinals can't whine about losing home attendance revenue (but they do lose in Park advertising revs).
Jackstraw 1 day 16 hours ago (view)
So much for his offseason workouts with Kimbrel.