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.
Dolorous Jon Lester 3 hours 48 min ago (view)
Down three in WC with 6 to play, if the answer isn’t “everyone” you’re doing it wrong.
Hagsag 4 hours 29 min ago (view)
Do you know who was available to pitch in relief?
crunch 5 hours 19 min ago (view)
cubs lose their 6th in a row, 5 in a row by 1 run.
MIL won and has a 4 game lead for the 2nd WC slot.
xrays negative on bryant's ankle.
Charlie 5 hours 25 min ago (view)
I liked the idea if not the result.
Dolorous Jon Lester 5 hours 36 min ago (view)
Another Joe Maddon baffling decision. I wonder if Wittenmyer will say it was Theos fault.
Edit: to stem the tide, he goes with Pedro Strop. Gotta give Pedro the chance to work his way back into postseason favor!
Dolorous Jon Lester 5 hours 39 min ago (view)
Even if we allow Hendricks to be called the ace, Lester is a 4. The others are 5s. That’s not a rotation that leads anyone to the postseason.
crunch 5 hours 42 min ago (view)
...and the cardinals have the lead.
crunch 5 hours 48 min ago (view)
why is darvish still pitching...
crunch 5 hours 49 min ago (view)
you'd assume they have to bring in an ace of some sorts because none of those 6 are any better than a 2-3 slot rotation type as we know them now.
well, to be fair hendricks is an ace on paper, but even if he keeps doing what he's doing for another decade i dunno if i would ever feel comfortable calling the dude throwing 86mph an ace. he's earned ace status, though. meh, semantics...and prejustice against soft tossers...
Dolorous Jon Lester 6 hours 12 min ago (view)
We’d be in deep, deep trouble if that’s the starting 5 next March. I’d think only one of those 3 start the year in the rotation. Trades or maybe FA signings will fill out rotation.
crunch 6 hours 12 min ago (view)
that would make the offseason interesting if he did.
no ham, no darvish, lester pitching like a middle/end rotation guy...
Q and hendricks locked in with lester...graveman + a.mills + chatwood could compete to slot in, but it's highly unlikely they're the full answer for both slots...
Dolorous Jon Lester 6 hours 52 min ago (view)
Anybody else getting the feeling Yu might opt out?
Words I’d never thought I’d say. I’m even more surprised that I’d rather he not opt out!
crunch 7 hours 31 min ago (view)
...and k.bryant screws his leg/knee/ankle reaching trying to beat out a single...which he didn't.
he's being helped off the field. neat.
i.happ playing 3rd because whatever.
crunch 8 hours 7 min ago (view)
cards have caught one hell of a case of cubbery in the bottom 1st.
3 miscues, 1 cubs run.
Charlie 9 hours 34 min ago (view)
What a millstone Yelich must have been!
Dolorous Jon Lester 14 hours 22 min ago (view)
I think he made a few good points but was misguided in laying next to no blame on Maddon. He’s made many questionable decisions and plenty of those decisions have cost the team games.
Gordo was correct in laying blame on ownership. They hamstrung the front office. I have a hard time believing all they would have added was Descalso and Brach if they could have. Every time they had more money become available they added.