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 36 min 44 sec ago (view)
i'll be over here watching Corner Gas DVDs waiting for 2020.
Charlie 3 hours 51 min ago (view)
Welp. I guess I will continue to pay attention to the Wild Card race? Dropping the Michael Wacha game is bad.
crunch 4 hours 32 min ago (view)
Dolorous Jon Lester 4 hours 55 min ago (view)
Another game, another set of golden opportunities to add on to a lead wasted.
Eric S 4 hours 58 min ago (view)
And nine hits ... with one run to show for it
crunch 6 hours 4 min ago (view)
6 innings, 5 pitchers used...and the cubs are down by 1 to show for it.
Dolorous Jon Lester 6 hours 42 min ago (view)
I hate Tommy Edman, and those of his ilk. The pissbirds are masters of getting a few good years out of middling prospect types like him. DeJong, Jon Jay, Matt Adams, Tommy Pham, Allen Craig, Matt Carpenter... the list goes on and on.
Arizona Phil 8 hours 5 min ago (view)
Trades involving players on minor league reserve lists are prohibited beginning at 12 PM (Eastern) on the 7th day prior to the originally-scheduled conclusion of the MLB regular season through the last day of the MLB regular season (including a day in which a Game #163 and Game #164 tie-breaker game is played or a day in which a re-scheduled game is played after the originally-scheduled conclusion of the MLB regular season).
Arizona Phil 8 hours 20 min ago (view)
If he makes four more appearances prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season, David Phelps' 2020 club option salary escalates from $3M to $5M (plus up to $3.25M in performance bonuses).
Arizona Phil 8 hours 25 min ago (view)
Conversely, Padres closer Kirby Yates has allowed only two HR with a .184 OppBA and 13/100 BB/K in 59.2 IP and Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez (now on Restricted List) has allowed just five HR with a .197 OppBA and 13/90 BB/K in 60.0 IP.
crunch 10 hours 12 min ago (view)
rizzo / cast / bryant / schwarb / contreras / bote (2nd) / heyward / hoe / mills
crunch 10 hours 13 min ago (view)
kintzler available out of the pen again...welcome back
Charlie 13 hours 12 min ago (view)
Send back to manufacturer and ask for a replacement.
Charlie 13 hours 13 min ago (view)
Seems like the rotation is just too old, especially with a bullpen this flimsy backing them up.
Dolorous Jon Lester 13 hours 15 min ago (view)
I’ve been thinking on this. And there have been so many crushing defeats it seems. And not a whole lot of really uplifting wins. I think it’s a factor of this team doesn’t come from behind a lot (winning last night would have been an amazing win) and seems to blow late leads or allow this type of loss. Last night was more evidence that this team just can’t finish anything.
crunch 23 hours 37 min ago (view)
cubs are out of a playoff slot (1st place or wild card slot) for the 1st time since april.
crushing defeat after a hell of a 9th inning comeback.