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.
Mike Wellman 10 min 59 sec ago (view)
The Hey, Hoe, Hen alignment...
crunch 34 min 25 sec ago (view)
zobrist / cast / bryant / schwarb / contreras / caratini / heyward / hoe / hendricks
this lineup seems to be a popular thing.
Dolorous Jon Lester 4 hours 9 min ago (view)
Lots of games where they failed to add on.
Lots of games Strop has single handedly blown, too.
Charlie 4 hours 39 min ago (view)
There are so many candidates. The early season losing streak comes painfully to mind.
Charlie 4 hours 40 min ago (view)
JHey's swing looks like it slipped into groundout mode. That Nico lineout was heartbreaking. :(
Charlie 4 hours 40 min ago (view)
Threw Vanmeter a curve and changeup that both looked great on TV, though Vanmeter didn't offer.
Mike Wellman 6 hours 25 min ago (view)
First thing I'll point to, depending on the final order of finish, is the fact that, for the second year in a row we took the lead off of Hader in the 8th inning of a key late-season game @ Milwaukee & couldn't keep it. The second thing will be the game we led 5-0 after 7 & managed to lose. Nats next face Marlins. Cards come to town licking their chops/beaks to finish us off...
Dolorous Jon Lester 9 hours 32 min ago (view)
They’re toast. Can’t finish games, can’t finish series, and it looks very much like they won’t finish this season.
Hagsag 10 hours 48 min ago (view)
The Cubbies are in a tough situation. If they make the playoffs, they will have earned it!. Enjoy the ride folks.
Eric S 17 hours 15 min ago (view)
Reds win season series 11-8 - possibly the first thing you point to should the Cubs miss the post season
Eric S 17 hours 21 min ago (view)
Long looking swing for JHey ... and Nico - oof
Eric S 17 hours 23 min ago (view)
Heard Len say Descalso’s name and about had a heart attack. Then heard him say “pinch runner” and settled down a bit
Charlie 17 hours 27 min ago (view)
Contreras's receiving didn't do Norwood any favors in that Vanmeter at-bat. And Norwood needed some favors.
Eric S 17 hours 32 min ago (view)
Gotta do better than three hits in nine innings in a start by Mahle - this one is on the bats
crunch 17 hours 37 min ago (view)
4th pitcher of the inning coming in...neat
crunch 17 hours 42 min ago (view)