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 13 min 18 sec ago (view)
ex-cub-for-a-minute derek holland (PIT) had a bad 1st inning today...homer, single, homer, homer, homer in his first 11 pitches.
crunch 38 min 11 sec ago (view)
i played for decades in various formats. i got crazy busy 3 years ago, took a year off, and never got back into it.
it's a great way to stay engaged with all the players and introduce yourself to emerging talent other people see that may not be on your radar.
Dolorous Jon Lester 8 hours 4 min ago (view)
It feels like you have no time to let players you know are good figure out how to get out of slumps. It's not ideal, and feels very much like it's not baseball.
crunch 17 hours 47 min ago (view)
at least this HOU/OAK game has been great since the DET/PIT game has ended. sigh.
crunch 18 hours 25 min ago (view)
at least this DET/PIT game has been great. no cubs til tuesday at the earliest...boo.
Arizona Phil 18 hours 59 min ago (view)
jdrnym: A player being on the Restricted List for a full season makes that season not a qualified season toward minor league free-agency, so will Mark Zagunis (who otherwise would be eligible to be a minor league 6YFA for the first time post-2020) being on the Restricted List as the result of opting-out of the 2020 season (he was assigned to the Cubs MLB Club Player Pool in July) keep him from being a minor league 6YFA post-2020? If not, then Zagunis needs to opt back in even if he is no longer assigned to the Cubs MLB Club Player Pool.
jdrnym 20 hours 19 min ago (view)
Baseball America confirms that 2020 will be considered a "qualified season" for the purposes of determining minor league free agency.
crunch 20 hours 20 min ago (view)
"Cardinals' president of baseball operations John Mozeliak announced Friday that Ryan Helsley and Austin Dean are the two players that tested positive for COVID-19."
Cubster 21 hours 20 min ago (view)
I presume they come back to Chicago for the weekend and travel to Cleveland on Tuesday.
Saved from an August weekend in Stl. Plus, it might eliminate any road games vs Stl. They might do makeups during the 3 game series at Wrigley Mon 8-17 to Wed 8-19 (Thursday 8-20 is a scheduled off day for the Cubs but StL plays the Reds in StL at night) or the 4 game series against the Cardinals at Wrigley Friday 9-4 through Mon 9-7.
crunch 21 hours 57 min ago (view)
i can't even imagine what it's like playing fantasy baseball this season.
Arizona Phil 23 hours 12 min ago (view)
So the Cubs are off until Tuesday.
Hagsag 23 hours 49 min ago (view)
Make the Deadbirds forfeit all three games.
crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
Arizona Phil 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
Based upon the way MLB handled the Marlins positive tests and the Phillies only potential exposure, I wouldn't be surprised if all three of the Cubs-Cards games this weekend will ultimately be canceled.
Arizona Phil 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
Tonight's Cubs-Cardinals game postponed due to an additional Cards positive CoViD-19 test.
The additional STL player who tested positive had apparently been out in public with the others who tested positive earlier this week when they were infected, so while the new positive test is not a surprise, the lag/delay in the player testing positive is probably a bit concerning/disappointing.
crunch 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
...only because ESPN no longer shows australian rules football.