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 13 min 18 sec ago (view)
Tom's older brother is an ass, even with an embarrassing apology.
crunch 1 hour 6 min ago (view)
some higher-end high school kids not expected to go very early in the draft are taking themselves out of the draft...including some top-100 ranked talent.
crunch 11 hours 4 min ago (view)
Dale Murphy @DaleMurphy3
Last night, my son was shot in the eye with a rubber bullet while peacefully protesting for justice for George Floyd. His story is not unique. Countless others have also experienced this use of excessive police force while trying to have their voices heard.
Dale Murphy @DaleMurphy3
BobbyD 12 hours 8 min ago (view)
But he has vicious dogs ready to kill the nig***. Oh wait, thugs. He's a real man.
Cubster 16 hours 27 min ago (view)
"this idea isn't a proposal at all and may actually be a measure that is forced into action by the league if the two sides can't sort out the financial details for a longer season."
MLBPA: Over our dead bodies. Followed by Trump sending in the military to force ballplayers and fans to perform like puppets on strings with fans to yell (and cough and sneezing) at the umpires. Ah, baseball before Jackie Robinson. The Trump Republican Party: Bring back the Cheating/Pandemic 1919 White only - White Sox. Say it ain't so, Joe.
Hagsag 16 hours 38 min ago (view)
Trump waiving a bible in front of the church is a total disgrace.
crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
...but now there's this...
"According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, Major League Baseball views a season of around 50 games as a "last resort" option should there be no agreement with the MLBPA.
crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
Major League Baseball intends to propose a shorter season in which they would pay players a full prorated share of their salaries, sources told ESPN. The league believes the late March agreement allows it to set the schedule, and that this would fulfill players’ pro rata desire.
JustSayin' 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
Minor League Baseball makes the cover of SI! Two years ago, I would have been elated. Today, it's depressing (like the article.)
BobbyD 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
Crunch, thanks. I can be a jerk at times, but you bailed me out. Btw I'm the whitest white boy (who grew up next to Wrigley and also worked at my dad's warehouse next to Cabrini Green). I'm truly ashamed of this president. I don't believe anyone sane wants more of him. Go Cubs!! I miss Bobby Dernier's first home run against the Padres.
Cubster 1 day 13 hours ago (view)
MLBTR has an update on the latest owner's revision proposal.
Cubster 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
'we have a donald trump problem, but he may be a highly advanced and dangerous symptom rather than the actual disease.'
Surely true, dear Crunch. Trump has emboldened the ugly fact that America's cruel underbelly is still racism and police brutality that forwards that original sin.
America NEEDS its HEROES.
Cubster 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
if he does die by "suicide", I would blame Bill Barr and look into a real conspiracy.
Cubster 1 day 16 hours ago (view)
welcome to an unwelcome June 1st.
Hagsag 1 day 16 hours ago (view)
November 3, vote!
George Altman 2 days 18 min ago (view)
Yes, many players are millionaires too. However, a good percentage of MLB Owners are billionaires. If there's no MLB in 2020 that's on 30 owners, not the players no matter how the Press spins things.