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).
Cubster 1 hour 26 min ago (view)
Monday Tribune: Conservative Joe Ricketts to launch Omaha-based "unbiased" online news service (called Straight Arrow news).
Yeah, right. Making son Pete look like a liberal.
Laura when hearing the name hysterically laughed out loud.
Sinclair media investing?
crunch 9 hours 56 min ago (view)
875K if he makes the team with 600K in performance bonuses possible.
Dolorous Jon Lester 10 hours 10 min ago (view)
Shelby Miller...? Really?
crunch 17 hours 8 min ago (view)
i like the cubs odds on this one.
Arizona Phil 21 hours 2 min ago (view)
Ian Happ arbitration figures are $4.1M (player) and $3.25M (club) with hearing date TBD.
crunch 2 days 8 hours ago (view)
* all figures stated are in a range of +/- 10m
yeah, that was me not typing info correctly. my bad.
Arizona Phil 2 days 10 hours ago (view)
Bryant got $19.5M
crunch 2 days 13 hours ago (view)
bryant 9.5m, contreras 6.65m, baez 11.65m, z.davies 8.63m
looks like happ is going to arbitration.
Arizona Phil 3 days 10 hours ago (view)
RHP Edward Vasquez (2017 IFA - Dominican Republic) has retired.
E. Vasquez was one of the top SP on DSL Cubs Red in 2019 and was expected to be a SP on one of the Cubs AZL teams in 2020 if the minor league season hadn't been canceled.
He would have been first-time Rule 5 Draft eligible post-2021.
K Dub 3 days 13 hours ago (view)
crunch 3 days 15 hours ago (view)
danny hultzen retires and joins the cubs as a "pitching development assistant"
shame the comeback story didn't last longer...but hey, at least he got to taste the bigs after his body failed him for so many years.
crunch 3 days 17 hours ago (view)
theo joining the commish's front office operation as a "consultant reguarding on field matters"...basically weighing in on the possible impact of rules changes.
Arizona Phil 3 days 20 hours ago (view)
K Dub 3 days 20 hours ago (view)
Yeah, to my calculation that suspension should be over by now unless he got caught again...
Wrigley Rat 4 days 22 min ago (view)
(Not Phil) - Last I saw, he was on the restricted list.
K Dub 4 days 1 hour ago (view)
PHIL: Did the Cubs release Saul Vazquez?