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).
crunch 6 min 51 sec ago (view)
m.ozuna signs with the braves 1/18m.
he was expected to sign for similar pay over a number of years. the cards must be "wtf?" about him walking away from the 17.8m qualifying offer, though. at least they get a draft pick out of it.
crunch 27 min 1 sec ago (view)
5x gold glove...and earned 0 of them.
whatever. hell of a hitter, and he played SS "good enough" to not embarass himself or the team.
but yeah, overrated even if he's a no-doubt 1st ballot hall of famer...which seems like an odd thing to say even if it's true (at least in the eyes of many).
Charlie 42 min 49 sec ago (view)
That's a significant boost for being the face of the Yankees. Expected, but in retrospect he wasn't that much better than plenty of people who didn't have full support for the hall (Santo comes to mind).
*Tries to start an "over-rated" chant.*
crunch 4 hours 8 min ago (view)
d.jeter and l.walker (10th and final year on ballot, 76.6%) are going to the HOF.
jeter got 99.75% of the vote...highest for a position player (griffey jr 99.32% 2016). m.rivera got 100% last year.
larry walker decided to dress up for his first post-election interview. class act.
crunch 6 hours 58 min ago (view)
nice. i love seeing the undrafted who still try to make a career get a shot.
it seems he's somewhat recently hit 97mph on his fastball which helped attract some interest.
good luck to the dude.
Arizona Phil 8 hours 8 min ago (view)
The Cubs have released eight players from their Dominican Academy: RHRP Donato Auguste, RHRP Marco Encarnacion, RHRP Rodrigo Garcia, RHRP Francisco Gracia, LHRP Anderson Parra, RHRP Willians Vasquez, 1B Jeinser Brete, and OF Kevin Miranda.
Arizona Phil 8 hours 27 min ago (view)
Rex Brothers has one minor league option left and Article XX-D status (so he can elect free-agency if outrighted) if he were to be added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2020.
Arizona Phil 8 hours 35 min ago (view)
RHSP Max Bain (contract acquired by Cubs from Utica Unicorns of USPBL last week) minor league UPC has not yet been filed with MLB.
Arizona Phil 8 hours 41 min ago (view)
The Josh Phegley, Bryan Brickhouse, Rex Brothers, Juan Gamez, and Caleb Simpson minor league contracts have been filed with MLB, but the Tyler Olson and Jason Adam contracts are still pending.
Arizona Phil 9 hours 53 min ago (view)
The Cubs have signed LHRP Rex Brothers (ex COL, ex-ATL), RHRP Bryan Brickhouse, RHRP Juan Gamez (pitched in Mexican League in 2019), and RHRP Caleb Simpson to minor l;eague contracts, and Brothers is the only one of the four likely receive an NRI to Cubs MLB Spring Training.
crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
""There’s a lot of disrespect from people there that I don’t want to be a part of," Arenado said. "You can quote that." Arenado added, "You ask what I thought of Jeff’s quotes and I say I don’t care what people say around there. There is a lot of disrespect."
The third baseman didn't want to elaborate on what he felt was disrespectful, but clearing the relationship between Arenado and the front office needs to be repaired."
crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
some good news...or bad news depending on how you feel about it...for the k.bryant trade market...
"Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich on Monday indicated that Nolan Arenado will not be dealt prior to spring training and trade talks involving the third baseman are off for now."
now MLB and crew need to decide whether bryant has an extra year of club control or not...still waiting...
rangers, braves, and nats are supposedly looking at 3rd base upgrades. cards are, too, but bryant to the cards would be a mutiny level trade decision.
crunch 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
"Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports that the Marlins, Cubs, Rangers, and Brewers are "believed to be among the teams with some interest" in free agent reliever Pedro Strop.
Nicholson-Smith on Sunday that Strop had three offers in-hand (two from NL clubs and one from an AL club) and will likely make his decision soon."
crunch 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
meanwhile "bitpartisan" lawmakers are working as hard as they can to make sure many labor/pay protection laws applicable to other workers don't apply to minor league teams for many years now by coding it into law or attempting to...
some of these same people are now crying foul over MLB team owner's plan to get rid of dozens of minor league teams for restructuring in order to save $$ by billionaire team owners.
"hey, we're doing this favor for you at the expense of workers. remember this!" - lawmakers
"oh, we will." - MLB team owners
Charlie 1 day 11 hours ago (view)
Fair pay for minor leaguers and international free agents would soften the blow of nickel and diming the MLB payroll for sure. It won't happen until the players union represents minor league interests, of course, unless an outside law suit forces the minimum wage issue.
crunch 2 days 5 hours ago (view)
without fail, at the end of every minor league spring training period (which is extremely poorly paid, not at all for the most part) there comes some retirements that seem to be a bit "early" in their development when players slog through weeks of low/no pay only to find out they're being assigned to a low level that barely pays them. it's a real morale crasher after going through weeks of poverty that breaks some guys. that's no way to run things...