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).
Eric S 1 hour 46 min ago (view)
Not a hill I’m going to die on for sure, but compare the 2019 defense vs 2016, I believe Cubs are bottom half on defense. Also, last info I saw on the topic, Cubs lead the majors in outs recorded on the basepaths. At six games over .500, Four teams in the NL have better records than the Cubs, who are now tied with the Phillies and just a game ahead of the Brewers. I think it was Bill Parcells who said you are what your record says you are - have to agree here too.
CubbyBlue 2 hours 21 min ago (view)
I've lost the joy of making this Cub fan blow himself up.
If I had continiued today, Dan would have dragged himself back into frame as a bloodied Leonardo DiCaprio and said, "I ain't afraid to die any more. I done it already."
Dolorous Jon Lester 5 hours 49 min ago (view)
I wonder if Joe will talk about how he feels re: next years contract to media today?
Dolorous Jon Lester 5 hours 50 min ago (view)
I don’t think Kintzler threw a single pitch where a Pirate swung and missed. All swings led to foul balls or that walk off hit. It was obvious he had nothing. The guy hadn’t pitched in over a week, so I can’t really blame him.
Jackstraw 6 hours 47 min ago (view)
Cubs at home = Roadrunner
Cubs on road = Wile E. Coyote
crunch 13 hours 40 min ago (view)
23 years old and carving up the hopes and dreams of the very young kids he was pitching against...
hard to take a 23 year old in DSL too seriously, but his numbers were filthy. 0.87 era, 0.48 whip, 11.6 k/9
Arizona Phil 13 hours 56 min ago (view)
RHRP Marcos Encarnacion (DSL Cubs #2 closer) busted for PED (the ever-popular stanozolol), gets 72-game suspension that will carry through the 2020 season (he will be 25 in November 2020). Encarnacion formerly pitched in the Reds organization and was signed as a 23-year old second-contract FA by the Cubs in June.
crunch 14 hours 23 min ago (view)
Charlie 14 hours 29 min ago (view)
By the end of this road trip, Bill might really have seen some things. No shortage of stuff to discuss in therapy.
crunch 14 hours 36 min ago (view)
obligatory farnsworth flashback video...
some nice bonus "pissed off sarge" gary matthews in there, too...and dusty baker handling shit. say what one wants about his lineup construction, dusty put up with some insane baseball attitudes with players he managed. i still can't believe a clubhouse with jeff kent and barry bonds didn't result in attempted murder at the very least.
Charlie 14 hours 46 min ago (view)
I think they are better than slightly above average in every area but the bullpen. Fangraphs WAR numbers suggest they are top 4 offense in the NL, top 5 rotation in NL, and bottom 5 bullpen in the NL. But that still suggests they should be right where they are, struggling to stay in the back of the pack of contenders for the postseason. So, that's probably close to what you are saying, but we could maybe attribute it mostly to one flaw--the bullpen.
Eric S 14 hours 55 min ago (view)
Brandon Morrow says hello too re the front office’s best laid plans
Charlie 15 hours 3 min ago (view)
Started to feel like I was watching Kyle Farnsworth and just knowing that he didn't have a way of getting the batter out.
For those looking to identify the particular nightmare I was reliving: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/sports/2004...
Charlie 15 hours 9 min ago (view)
Kyle Ryan and Brandon Kintzler handling a 1-run lead in a 9th inning following a sweep to the Phillies. This is not the bullpen the front office has been trying to assemble. The closer, the setup man/backup closer (Strop), the future closer (Edwards), and the replacement closer (Kimbrel) have all fallen through in one way or another. If they can make the playoffs, I suppose we expect Kimbrel and Cishek as reinforcements? It's still going to be rough with Strop underperforming.
crunch 15 hours 38 min ago (view)
this has been a particularly rough set of losses...ow.
Eric S 15 hours 39 min ago (view)
The thing is, this Cub team has so many flaws you really can’t take the inevitable meltdowns too harshly. The Cubs are a slightly above average team - that’s all