Cubs Re-sign Munenori Kawasaki
It was initially reported as a rumor by Japanese media earlier in the week, but Baseball America is now confiming that the Cubs have indeed re-signed INF Munenori Kawasaki to a 2017 minor league contract. He will almost certainly receive a NRI to Spring Training.
Now 35, Kawasaki spent twelve seasons in NPB (the Japanese major league) with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, hitting 294/345/378 with 267 SB in 1,145 NPB games 2000-11. He was an eight-time NPB All-Star, a two-time Gold Glove winner, he led the NPB in stolen bases once, and was a member of Team Japan in the WBC in 2006 and 2009. He was also a fan favorite, one of the most-popular players in Japan.
Kawasaki became an unrestricted free-agent after the 2011 season, and was signed by the Seattle Mariners in December 2011. Over the past five seasons with Seattle, the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Cubs, Kawasaki has logged more Plate Appearances in AAA than he has in MLB, hitting a combined 237/320/289 in 276 MLB games (738 PA) and a combined 255/346/312 in 233 AAA games (815 PA). He hit 255/352/312 in 102 games at AAA Iowa in 2016, almost matching exactly his AAA numbers from the previous four seasons. He is what's known in baseball as a high-contact small-ball slap-hitter (no power, a good bunter, and tough to strike out).
Although he is no longer the player he was in Japan, Kawasaki is still an outstanding defender at SS, 2B, and 3B, and he still runs very well, too. "Moonie" (as he is known) also is a very funny man, keeping his teammates and the media in stitches with his dancing, one-liners, and hilarious interviews.
Kawasaki will likely serve as the utility infielder (SS-2B-3B) at AAA Iowa in 2017, and because he is an outstanding defensive shortstop, will probably get first-call if anything happens to Addison Russell or Javier Baez. However, Kawasaki is out of minor league options (he had a 4th mnor league option available in 2016, and it was spent), so if the Cubs add Kawasaki to the MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2017, he can't be sent back to the minors without first passing through waivers, and he can elect to be a free-agent if he is sent outright to the minors after being added to the 40. So it won't be quite as easy for the Cubs to move Kawasaki up from Des Moines to Chicago and then back again to Des Moines as it was last year.
Also, Kawasaki is an Article XX-B player, so he will receive a $100K retention bonus if he isn't added to the MLB 40-man roster by Opening Day, and he will also receive an automattic June 1st opt-out if he isn't added to the 40 by 6/1. Last year, the Cubs got around that by releasing Kawasaki and two other Article XX-B players signed to minor league contracts (LHRP Manny Parra and OF Shane Victorino) five days prior to MLB Openng Day and then re-signing each of them to another (different) 2016 minor league contract without the Article XX-B rights. (An Article XX-B player gets the $100K retention bonus and automatic 6/1 opt-out only if he signs a minor league contract at least ten days prior to MLB Opening Day, so by releasing Kawasaki, Parra, and Victorino and then re-signing them to a new 2016 minor league contract five days prior to Opening Day, the Article XX-B rights no longer applied).
Jackstraw 3 hours 9 min ago (view)
Don't let short-term market fluctuations diminsh your enthusiasm for a great long-term investment.
crunch 5 hours 20 min ago (view)
freddy freeman + aaron nola are also positive star players.
the scary thing is freeman tested negative on tuesday. by thursday he was sick and tested positive shortly afterwards. some may question the strength of the MLB test if they were the ones who gave freeman's initial negative...
Cubster 6 hours 13 min ago (view)
COVID positive: LeMahieu NYY; Sano MIN; S Perez KC.
crunch 8 hours 5 min ago (view)
phillies now have 7 down with covid...freddy freeman (ATL) has symptomatic covid with fever/chills/aches for the past 3 days...some players on multiple teams are still awaiting initial test results so they can join spring training 2.0 with their teams...
also, this photo of pablo sandoval (SF) taking grounders at 3rd... https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EcHFTylVcAAE5SI?format...
Cubster 8 hours 33 min ago (view)
Wittenmeyer tweet: Hendricks and Darvish combine for 4 Ks in a pair of scoreless half-innings.
Press box wag: "Cubs hitting sucks this year"
crunch 10 hours 15 min ago (view)
2020 schedule to be announced monday (tentative).
crunch 10 hours 17 min ago (view)
d.price (LAD) to sit out the season.
LAD isn't going to get d.price at all in 2020 and they got m.betts for 60-ish games until he's a FA. ow. that duo cost them jeter downs, alex verdugo, and connor wong.
Dolorous Jon Lester 17 hours 39 min ago (view)
I acquired Trout over the winter in a keeper league. Not feeling too great about that either.
Hagsag 20 hours 32 min ago (view)
Andrew Cashner still hasn't signed with anyone. Could be useful.
crunch 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
the cleveland indians have released a statement that they are open for dialogue about the future of the team's name.
twitter is all over it and seems to be all about going back to "cleveland spiders", an unrelated dead MLB team lineage in cleveland from the 1800s (some guy named cy young played for them).
crunch 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
Q coming back in 4-6 weeks will be like a mid-season trade! sigh...
but yeah, they should be good in-house with expanded rosters unless they get slammed by IL stuff.
crunch 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
MLB has confirmed 38 positives (players/coaches/personel/etc) so far.
Arizona Phil 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
With 17 pitchers likely on the 30-man MLB Active List roster for the first two weeks and then probably 15 pitchers on the 28-man Active List for the next two weeks after that, the Cubs should be able to "bullpen" games quite a bit for the first month. They won't really need five starters.
crunch 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
the cubs were searching car seats for coins to sign the scraps they managed to get this offseason. i imagine doing everything "in house" might be on the table.
the ricketts will need all the money they can spare to dump into GOP elections, too. priorities. btw, yes the family has been dumping 100s of thousand (to the tune of millions combined) over the past few months into state elections in areas they don't live in. wisconsin, nevada, new york, georgia, etc...millions...many millions of dollars all over the country.
Arizona Phil 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
jdrnym: Once the MLB regular season starts, the "Practice Squad" will be a sub-group of the Club Player Pool, as will be the MLB Active List roster and the various MLB injured lists.
jdrnym 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
All makes sense, but I think there is one important point of clarification in there -- are you using "practice squad" and "Club Player Pool" interchangeably? If so, I understood the first sentence of your third-to-last paragraph above to mean that Mills/Sadler/Underwood could be outrighted and still be in the Pool, therefore retaining their eligibility to re-selected to the major league active roster later in the season.