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 ago (view)
cubs sign tyler olsen to a minor league contract, 650K if he makes the majors.
evidently the cubs are sourcing 2020 players out of that trash can houston was banging on.
crunch 1 day 35 min ago (view)
carlos beltran "steps down" from the mets manager job
Jackstraw 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
Both piggy-backing off of CubbyBlue. Or at least I was.
Hagsag 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
You have done your homework Phil.
Arizona Phil 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
Some possible price tags for Kris Bryant (but only if he loses his grievance and has two years of club control left):
QuietMan 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
Someone's stolen your idea,
Sonicwind75 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
His punishment is having to manage the mets.
Eric S 1 day 20 hours ago (view)
Well done! 👏 Astro-isks beats TrashCanGate in my mind.
Eric S 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
Wouldn't be shocked if they did punt this season. Someone is getting moved - it would shock me more if they stay status quo with respect to KB and/or Contreras. Still can't picture them trading Javy
Arizona Phil 1 day 22 hours ago (view)
I would think the starting point in the discussion of a return package for Kris Bryant would be a young MLB (or near MLB-ready) SP who is both more MLB-ready than Brailyn Marquez and with a higher upside than Adbert Alzolay or Alec Mills, meaning Ian Anderson or Kyle Wright (ATL), Zac Gallen (AZ), Spencer Howard (PHI), or Luis Patino (SD), presuming those teams would have interest in acquiring KB in a trade.
Eric S 2 days 16 min ago (view)
Acuna, Albies and maybe one or two of their high end pitching prospects should seal the deal -- and that's if KB wins his grievance case!
crunch 2 days 1 hour ago (view)
"Bob Nightengale of USA Today writes that the Braves' trade negotiations for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant are "expected to be revisited." "
Charlie 2 days 3 hours ago (view)
I'm most curious what happens with Beltran as new Mets managerial hire.
Dolorous Jon Lester 2 days 4 hours ago (view)
THE Jason Adam? Man, I don't know where they found the money for that.
Hagsag 2 days 7 hours ago (view)
Cubs have signed Jason Adam RHP to a minor league contract.
CubbyBlue 2 days 13 hours ago (view)
The investigation says Astros cheating all through 2017 including the World Series. Then Cora managing Boston for '18. You've read that the deal from MLB with the other teams is "you're not allowed to say anything". God. Not a Dodger fan but that's one royal screwing. Plaschke at LATIMES says, "Seriously, why is it that Commissioner's Trophy still in their Houston offices? Why can't they at least have the decency to give it back? Better yet, the worthless thing should be tossed in a dugout trash can that the Dodgers can bang with a bat."