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 4 min 55 sec ago (view)
if bryant wasn't looking less and less like a 3rd baseman, it would probably be an even or less trade given the cost difference between the 2 guys. it's not been so slick the past couple years for bryant with the glove meanwhile arenado does nothing but win gold gloves.
bryant has 2 years of club control and arenado can opt out after 2021.
that said, i dunno if the cubs have the $$ space to take on a $35m/yr contract with or without the risk of him opting out.
Charlie 1 hour 24 min ago (view)
Shouldn't it take less than Bryant, given Arenado's opt out? I guess the Rockies could be asking for more, but it wouldn't make sense.
Eric S 2 hours 57 min ago (view)
Has he gone so far as calling the Rox front office namby-pambies yet? There's only so much a front office can take before it snaps.
crunch 3 hours 42 min ago (view)
n.arenado continues to go very hard on COL front office. he's careful not to turn on the fans, but he's burning the hell out of every other bridge to the point they may trade him just to not hear about it too much longer. he's not shy at all about airing it out for the media.
if the cubs want him, it will most likely take more than just k.bryant.
Arizona Phil 20 hours 3 min ago (view)
The Cubs have officially signed C-1B Alberto Mineo to a 2020 minor league contract and he has been assigned to AA Tennessee.
A native of Italy, Mineo was signed by the Cubs as a 16 year old J-2 IFA in November 2010. He was one of three players signed by the Cubs out of the MLB European Academy in Turin, Italy in the years 2008-10 (Italian RHP Alex Maestri and Dutch INF Dwayne Kemp were the other two).
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
No argument there. Plays an excellent violin though.
crunch 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
tim815 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
He's better than Taylor Davis.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 18 hours ago (view)
He's at a career juncture where I think he is a toss up of he is who he is or there's a little more left for him to achieve. Playing this as his age 27 season he is either in or damn close to his peak. I personally think he doesn't need the everyday playing time, just based on the fact that he's not a top prospect, is older, and doesn't project to be a starter at any spot for a first division team.
Charlie 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
This is the take if you see him as a legit prospect. Which, maybe? I know little about him, and his numbers in limited AAA exposure last season were really nice. Maybe a lively ball helps his career.
bradsbeard 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
Sounds like a long shot to get a trade done then. Thanks for clarifying!
Arizona Phil 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: Before making a trade with the Rule 5 Draft pick's former club, the drafting club must first place the player on Outright Assignment Waivers and any of the other MLB clubs can claim the player for the $50,000 waiver price and assume the Rule 5 Draft obligations (actually it's Rule 6 Selected Player obligations, but you know what I mean).
bradsbeard 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
AZ Phil, the "work out a trade" part of Rule 5 is still a mystery to me. Do the Cubs have to put Megill through waivers and (if he clears) offer him back to SD before they can trade for him?
Arizona Phil 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
For those of you who didn't see the game, here are the pitch-velo readings from Wednsdays Cubs - Royals game:
NOTES: An amazing pitcher... he's probably in mid-season form right now... just needs to gradually increase innings...
NOTES: A legit candidate to be the 5th starter
Craig A. 1 day 22 hours ago (view)
Craig A. 1 day 22 hours ago (view)
He'll be 27 in May and he's played in 36 games at AAA. Seems like he should be playing regularly.