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 19 hours 55 min ago (view)
kolten wong rumors heating up for the cubs, too. i could live with that. giving nico hoerner 600 ab's a year sounds absolutely terrible after what little he did last year.
Cubster 22 hours 11 min ago (view)
WSCR online reporting that the Cubs are going to watch lefty Carlos Rondon pitch. They desperately need another lefty that breaks down with the regularity of my Comcast service.
crunch 22 hours 24 min ago (view)
imagine being so toxic that you go from a no-doubt 1st or 2nd year HOF'r to having to try for it in your 10th year...and then imagine doubling down on the toxicity every chance you get a chance to redeem yourself.
every time he's called out, even for minor stuff, he piles on more and then complains that people that have an issue with him are "cancelling" him for no good reason.
he deleted a slew of "those people that stormed the capital are great people" posts pre-election so he has some kind of self-awareness in that skull of his somewhere.
Cubster 23 hours ago (view)
I'm all for removing him from the ballot. His bloody sock already made it. That was enuf.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 31 min ago (view)
Ranting about how the elections (both his and the other clown's) were stolen.
I hope he ends up one vote short next year, just to really rub it in.
crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
currently he's throwing a tantrum and demanding to be removed from the HOF ballot for 2022.
Hagsag 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
Will Schilling storm the HOF with a mob?
crunch 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
schilling denied (71.1%, 16 votes short).
some people did nazi that coming.
no one inducted this year...aram got 1% of the vote so he found more than 1 vote out there (4 votes). latroy hawkins got 2 votes for being a solid dude to other people (very friendly with the press and pretty much everyone)...sosa got 17% of the vote...
schilling/bonds/clemens are going in their last eligible class in 2022...could be a hell of a "controversial" class...but bonds/clemens need to find 50+ votes.
Sonicwind75 1 day 20 hours ago (view)
Arizona is allowing fans in the stands for indoor NHL hockey games but it's too dangerous to let players following protocals; at least more so than hockey fans, to practice outside in a controlled environment. Wonder how much of that is coming from MLB ownership trying to get a late start and pro-rating player salaries. Stall and save some money until more fans are allowed to attend later in the year.
crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
few hours away from HOF announcements (6pm EST, unless leaked early).
schilling seems to be the only guy with a legit shot this year and i wouldn't be surprised to see no one get elected...
big up aramis rarmirez getting at least 1 known vote on publically shared ballots.
crunch 2 days 18 hours ago (view)
"MLB will hold its first-ever pre-draft combine from June 20-28 in Cary, North Carolina.
The combine will take place at the USA Baseball National Training Complex, with top draft-eligible college and high school players invited. As part of the combine, the top-88 prep players will take part in a tournament through June 26th consisting of eight games."
crunch 2 days 19 hours ago (view)
cactus league officials are requesting MLB delay spring training because of elevated COVID cases + deaths.
their summer peak was 70-80 deaths a week and they're currently at 140-160 deaths a week.
things should be trending down now that most of people that wanted to kill relatives in order to have turkey dinners in NOV/DEC seems to have peaked.
Hagsag 3 days 16 hours ago (view)
$$$$ for trump's defense fund.
Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 16 hours ago (view)
But they got $600 a few months back. Each! That was an unexpected windfall.
Can't wait to see us acquire a 17 year old, 16 year old, 11 year old (all in the 15-30 range of Blue Jays prospects) and one of the shitty Jays surplus OFs. Randal Grichuk jerseys will be the new hot item among Cubs fans.
crunch 3 days 17 hours ago (view)
things are a little tight, we have to be patient with the ricketts family finances.
when TD Ameritrade was fully/completely sold in october they expected to get 26 billion dollars of value on the transaction, but it only got 22 billion dollars. the massive slew of millions that didn't fully come to realization on the ricketts side of that sale stings.
Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 18 hours ago (view)
Trade Hendricks? Cant be true. We're "going to be competitive this year."
Sell the team, Ricketts family.