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.
erich081 29 min 38 sec ago (view)
Justin Grimm must have forwarded his Maddon blackmail material to Tony Kemp.
crunch 7 hours 49 min ago (view)
baseball is fun.
Jackstraw 9 hours 45 min ago (view)
Cubs were 1 for 9 with RISP.
Neither of the Cards who scored had to take the bat off of their shoulder.
With the game on the line, Joe sends up Tony Kemp.
2019 season in microcosm.
crunch 9 hours 48 min ago (view)
p.alonso (NYM) gets #50...not bad for a rookie.
also, MIL wins because of course why not.
cubs are 2 games behind in the WC standings for the 2nd slot...5 games behind STL in the central.
crunch 11 hours 22 min ago (view)
i'll be over here watching Corner Gas DVDs waiting for 2020.
Charlie 14 hours 37 min ago (view)
Welp. I guess I will continue to pay attention to the Wild Card race? Dropping the Michael Wacha game is bad.
crunch 15 hours 18 min ago (view)
Dolorous Jon Lester 15 hours 41 min ago (view)
Another game, another set of golden opportunities to add on to a lead wasted.
Eric S 15 hours 44 min ago (view)
And nine hits ... with one run to show for it
crunch 16 hours 50 min ago (view)
6 innings, 5 pitchers used...and the cubs are down by 1 to show for it.
Dolorous Jon Lester 17 hours 28 min ago (view)
I hate Tommy Edman, and those of his ilk. The pissbirds are masters of getting a few good years out of middling prospect types like him. DeJong, Jon Jay, Matt Adams, Tommy Pham, Allen Craig, Matt Carpenter... the list goes on and on.
Arizona Phil 18 hours 51 min ago (view)
Trades involving players on minor league reserve lists are prohibited beginning at 12 PM (Eastern) on the 7th day prior to the originally-scheduled conclusion of the MLB regular season through the last day of the MLB regular season (including a day in which a Game #163 and Game #164 tie-breaker game is played or a day in which a re-scheduled game is played after the originally-scheduled conclusion of the MLB regular season).
Arizona Phil 19 hours 6 min ago (view)
If he makes four more appearances prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season, David Phelps' 2020 club option salary escalates from $3M to $5M (plus up to $3.25M in performance bonuses).
Arizona Phil 19 hours 11 min ago (view)
Conversely, Padres closer Kirby Yates has allowed only two HR with a .184 OppBA and 13/100 BB/K in 59.2 IP and Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez (now on Restricted List) has allowed just five HR with a .197 OppBA and 13/90 BB/K in 60.0 IP.
crunch 20 hours 58 min ago (view)
rizzo / cast / bryant / schwarb / contreras / bote (2nd) / heyward / hoe / mills
crunch 20 hours 59 min ago (view)
kintzler available out of the pen again...welcome back