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 3 min ago (view)
"Per ESPN.com's Jeff Passan, Major League Baseball's executive council has granted the Rays permission to explore a plan that would allow them to start the season playing home games in Tampa Bay and finish their home schedule in Montreal. "
Jackstraw 3 hours 31 min ago (view)
Chatwood announced as starter for tonight, but since Alzolay was scheduled to go for Iowa today I don't think it's a fluke he was called up. He could piggyback nicely after Chatwood throws 96 pitches in 4 innings with 9 Ks and 5 walks.
Arizona Phil 5 hours 10 min ago (view)
The Cubs could give Alzolay three starts (6/20 vs NYM, 6/25 vs ATL, and 6/30 at CIN), then option him to the minors on 7/1 when (presumably) Craig Kimbrel and Tony Barnette are brought up, then leave Alzolay at Iowa for 14 days through the All-Star Break, and recall him to start the game on 7/15 or 7/16 vs CIN (if Hendricks isn't ready to come off the IL after the ASB).
Arizona Phil 5 hours 22 min ago (view)
The thing about Tim Collins is that because he has Article XIX-A rights (he has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time), he must give his consent each time he is optioned or outrighted to the minors, and while he obviously did give his consent when he was optioned to the minors after being signed in March and then again in April and again in May after brief call-ups to MLB, he is no longer willing to do it, and so to get him off the 25-man roster, the Cubs have no choice but to release him (if he isn't traded or claimed off waivers sometime in the next seven days).
George Altman 16 hours 41 min ago (view)
The Adbert Alzolay era begins tomorrow. Collins DFAd
Eric S 17 hours 51 min ago (view)
Ozzie Albies routinely loses his helmet while running the bases - his helmet even has a parody twitter account.
crunch 17 hours 55 min ago (view)
MIL lost, so the cubs are in 1st by a half game.
Arizona Phil 17 hours 57 min ago (view)
The Cubs have released LHRP Brian Duensing.
Duensing was sent outright to AAA Iowa at the end of Spring Training (because he has Article XIX-A rights Duensing had to consent to the assignment), and was placed on the I-Cubs 7-day IL on May 12th.
So the Cubs are on the hook for Duensing's entire $3.5M salary, unless he signs a major league contract with another club (not too likely).
Arizona Phil 18 hours 2 min ago (view)
The Cubs have signed second-contract FA RHRP Willians Vasquez to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to DSL Cubs #2.
Now 22, W. Vasquez was signed by the Atlanta Braves as an 18-year old J-2 IFA out of Venezuela in 2015, and he spent three seasons in the DSL prior to being released by the Braves this past February.
crunch 19 hours 2 min ago (view)
lester goes 5.2ip and gives up 3 runs. it wasn't pretty, but it wasn't ugly.
crunch 19 hours 17 min ago (view)
Charlie 19 hours 19 min ago (view)
He loves it almost as much as Javy loves insisting on replays.
crunch 19 hours 33 min ago (view)
...and a flawless throw to nail t.anderson trying to steal 3rd.
crunch 19 hours 44 min ago (view)
is there anyone in baseball who loves to shed their helmet while running as much as almora?
crunch 20 hours 13 min ago (view)
...and a solo HR. all 5 RBIs belong to him after 3 innings.
crunch 20 hours 50 min ago (view)
contreras grand slam!
3rd of his cubs career.