Cubs Sign Kawasaki to Minor League Deal

Jon Paul Morosi at Fox Sports reports that the Cubs have signed veteran utility infielder  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 (who elected free-agency after being outrighted to the minors in October), although Kawasaki will have to beat-out and/or (as well as fellow NRI utility INF and ) 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 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.

Comments

I would have to think that Kawasaki and Maddon are going to be best friends.

If he doesn't make the team, they should hire him as an ambassador. He and Demp would be a riot.

MLB trade deadline is now Aug 1 for 2016...neat. the extra day is because of concerns over sunday afternoon games or some blah blah blah whatever. http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/14620922/ma...

CRUNCH: The MLB "non-waiver" trade deadline was changed to 4 PM (Eastern) on August 1st in 2016 only, because  July 31st falls on a Sunday. (This is the first time the trade deadline was extended because Juily 31st falls on a Sunday). 

The "non-waiver" trade deadline actually matches up exactly with the end of the waiver period that extends from the 31st day of the MLB regular season through July 31st (the next waiver period extends from August 1st through November 10th), but apparently the waiver periods were not changed. 

This little dude is a trip. I wish him the best in his battle for player number 25 on the roster.

hopefully he knows how to use a rally gum bucket if he's taking that role. that's kinda important.

mets/cespedes...3/75, supposedly. looks like he traded out years+security for big pay on the short term. supposedly he has a 1-year opt out and getting 27+m in his 1st year. crazy loot...

27.5m his 1st year with an opt-out confirmed...on a 3/75 contract. that is a bigass single-season paycheck for a position player who's not a top-tier player (though his power is top-tier and he's got a nice arm).

Gallardo, Desmond, and Fowler are left on the TCR Board. billybucks has a good lead, with viable predictions left. Unless jacos runs the table or the Cubs make another trade, billy can't lose (but could tie).

So, instead of winning Powerball, I might win this. So far, Greinke and Upton are the only two that everybody whiffed on.

I am surprised more people didn't pick Heyward to the Cubs. That was the only prediction I made I had any confidence in at all.

I had Kawasaki to the Cubs

Bloom County type expression of alarm: The Spreadsheet is wrong! You have six points now!

BILLYBUCKS: Be careful what you wish for... 

link 

Ugh.

i got your back bruh... if you win the lottery just stay cool and calm...don't tell anyone...mail the ticket to me...i'll handle all that stress. you're welcome.

So great to be part of the supportive, selfless TCR community. Of course, living in Illinois -- the state is currently paying lottery winners in IOUs, because there is no money in the state budget because there's no state budget. Theo for mayor/governor! He can fix anything!

Even Theo has his ceiling.

Maybe Crane Kenney for Mayor/Governor? Now that he's figured out how to work the politicos, although he still feels Alderman Tunney nipping at his heels. Illinois Politicians have a long history of badness...here is where the original stash of lottery money went. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-02-24...

Nick Cafardo's Sunday Notes, he ranks the off-season winners and losers. Cubs on the winner side after Boston and Detroit. Also a comment that the Cubs are one of four teams interested in Austin Jackson (and Brewers, Angels, Rangers).
3. CUBS — This was already a 97-win team, but mix in John Lackey and veteran hitters Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward, and the Cubs can certainly say they’ve separated themselves from the Cardinals and Pirates.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2016/01/23...

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  • crunch 5 hours 13 min ago (view)

    i truly wonder why f.carrera wasn't more of a priority.

    he throws straight up junk, but he's got great control and command over his pitchers.  he's young enough that he could find some more velocity, too.

    i mean, this is a management team that decided to trade for dan haren and kyle hendricks.  they don't have an aversion to slow-tossing starters.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 5 hours 54 min ago (view)

    Has anyone else noticed James Norwood's picture on the Cubs top 30 prospects page is actually Brandon Kintzler?

     

  • Arizona Phil 8 hours 17 min ago (view)

    It's always interesting to see how many players each MLB club protects on its AAA affiliate's 38-man reserve list on 11/20.

    I'm not saying it absolutely and necessarily proves what a club thinks of its own prospects, but there are 38 slots available on a AAA reserve list, and if you leave 15 slots open, I think that does say something, especially when you don't lose anybody in either the MLB Phase or in the AAA Phase. (I'm looking at you, Seattle Mariners!) 

     

  • Arizona Phil 9 hours 1 min ago (view)

    HAGSAG: Instructs starts next month. The pitching lab operates year round, so guys are always coming & going. 

     

  • Hagsag 11 hours 7 min ago (view)

    Phil, when does the Instructional program begin? Are there pitchers in the pitching lab now?

     

  • cubbies.4ever 22 hours 10 min ago (view)

    Just to continue my conspiracy theory that Theo has a requirement you have TJS to pitch for the Cubs Trevor Megill had it in 2013.  The Cubs must have a support group for pitchers who have had TJS.

     

  • Arizona Phil 23 hours 46 min ago (view)

    After losing two players off the Iowa reserve list in the Major League Phase and selecting four players in the AAA Phase, the Iowa reserve list has one slot open, so now would be an excellent time to try and outright C. D. Pelham to AAA.

    Keep in mind that he can't elect free-agency if he's outrighted, and if he is outrighted, he won't be a minor league free-agent until post-2021.

    And if he gets claimed off waivers? No big deal.  

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 8 min ago (view)

    LHSP Faustino Carrera and 2B Carlos Sepulveda were among the first players signed by the Cubs out of Mexico in 2014-15. The Cubs ended up signing more than two dozen more Mexican players over the next three years. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 11 min ago (view)

    Vimael Machin can play anywhere in the infield & outfield, but he also went through the catcher conversion program at post-2015 Instructs so he can even catch in a pinch, too. He could be a very useful 26th man.

    Machin is bi-lingual (he is from Puerto Rico and went to college at Old Dominion), and was projected by the Cubs as a future coach or manager. He's a savvy & astute baseball guy. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 24 min ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: Every year the Cubs convert two or three position players to pitcher (it was Galazin, Hughes, and Zardon in 2019), so it's very possible that Suiter will be given a chance to pitch. 

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    Suiter, who pitched in HS and briefly in college and who doesn't appear to be much of a hitter, seems to me to be a good pitcher conversion candidate.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    BTW, three of the four players selected by the Cubs in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft (Stewart, Suiter, and Masters) will be minor league free-agents post-2020, and the fourth one (Vance Vizcaino) is a second-contract player (he was previously released by KC) so he could be a post-2020 minor league free-agent, too (TBD).

    Incidentally, David Masters was selected by the Cubs after signing a minor league successor contract with the Nationals. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    So LHSP Brailyn Marquez, INF Christopher Morel, RHSP Cory Abbott, SS Aramis Ademan, RHSP Erich Uelmen, RHSP Keegan Thompson, and LHSP Brendon Little stand-out among the Cubs 2020 first-time Rule 5 Draft eligibles, and RHRP Oscar de la Cruz, LHSP Luis Lugo, and LHRP Jordan Minch are probably the ones to watch  among the Cubs post-2020 free-agent eligibles.    

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    For those of you who like to plan ahead, AS THINGS STAND NOW here is how the Rule 5 Draft and minor league free-agency shape up for the Cubs post-2020: 

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    You say that in jest, but just from the 2016 draft, which did not feature a first or second round pick, the Cubs drafted 4 players who were added to 40 man rosters this winter (Hatch, Miller, Rucker, Short) with Mekkes, Giambrone, and several others being potential mid-season additions.  

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    So I guess he's the first guy since Rondon we've taken in rule 5 with a shot at making the roster. That's kinda cool