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 49 min 16 sec ago (view)
left handed tyler chatwood can go ahead and get picked in the rule5 if he puts up numbers like he has recently...
Arizona Phil 1 hour 22 min ago (view)
I would think it would be a low base salary (maybe $1M) with performance bonuses based upon days spent on the MLB active list.
Arizona Phil 1 hour 28 min ago (view)
If the Cubs sign Steven Souza Jr to an MLB contract and he doesn't spend most or all of the 2020 season on the 60-day IL, he has Article XIX-A rights (he has accrued five-plus years of MLB Service Time) so even though he has two minor league options left he cannot be optioned (or outrighted) to the minors without his consent.
Also, Souza will be an Article XX-B MLB FA post-2020 if he accrues at least 100 days of MLB Service Time in 2020 (and players do accrue MLB ST while on the IL), presuming there are no player, mutual, and/or club options in the contract.
Arizona Phil 1 hour 39 min ago (view)
This might be another rehab signing, like Smyly in 2018 and Graveman last year.
Arizona Phil 1 hour 40 min ago (view)
CRUNCH: That was why the D'backs non-tendered Souza even though they need outfielders. It was a really catastrophic knee injury. He's lucky if he can walk without a limp, much less run.
Arizona Phil 1 hour 45 min ago (view)
As I mentioned here last year when he was claimed off waivers, Pelham does not have the right to elect free-agency if he is outrighted and he will not be a minor league 6YFA until post-2021 (so he will be under club control through the 2021 season, and eligible for selection in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft if he is not added back to the 40 in the meantime).
Wrigley Rat 1 hour 51 min ago (view)
Pelham has cleared waivers and was assigned to Iowa.
crunch 5 hours 2 min ago (view)
yeah, but he severely wrecked his left knee, like 3-4 different structures in his left knee. he had to have a total reconstruction.
he must have had something resembling a decent workout if he got a MLB deal, though...or the front office feels pressured to do something. it's no secret the cubs checked in on his availabilty years ago so they do have a historical interest in him.
found an article... https://www.mlb.com/news/steven-souza-jr-has-knee-...
Eric S 5 hours 54 min ago (view)
Have to believe it's a bench move. Souza has an interesting background - pretty quick synopsis of him as a player and teammate in Bleacher Nation:
crunch 7 hours 3 min ago (view)
cd pellham outrighted to AAA and off the 40-man roster.
crunch 7 hours 4 min ago (view)
replies are hillarious...
also, i hope this is an expected bench player move...especially since he destroyed his left knee in 2019 missing the entire year...and wasn't healthy in 2018.
Eric S 8 hours 59 min ago (view)
Cubs on the brink of actually signing a free agent to a major league contract
Hagsag 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
Tommy Birch tweets that Taylor Davis has signed with the Orioles. Hate to see him go. I will never forget his GS against the Deadbirds.
crunch 2 days 7 hours ago (view)
cubs trade for travis lakins for a PTBNL or cash considerations from the rsox.
Charlie 2 days 12 hours ago (view)
I mean, the "overrated" criticism is always more about other people deserving of the honor being snubbed or put through more rigamarole. Jeter was definitely a great player for a long time. I just want people to remember that guys like Scott Rolen are not 60% less deserving, as the current voting system seems to indicate.
crunch 2 days 19 hours ago (view)
speaking of the HOF...
schilling had a nice bump in his 8th eligable year going from 60.9% to 70.0%. he's probably gonna get in next year...and if not for his abrasive personality and questionable interests outside of baseball he would probably already be in. he's good enough to be there based on performance alone.
fellow 8th year guys bonds and clemens held steady, going up around 1% point to 60%-ish range. they may or may not get some love entering their 9th or 10th years.