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).
Charlie 1 hour 7 min ago (view)
I dub this canon.
Eric S 10 hours 23 min ago (view)
Good deal - much better ballpark experience than at the Ted. Atlanta fans are buying in and showing up.
Eric S 10 hours 40 min ago (view)
It’s a shame that they had to burn Cishek with a five run lead. I guess they could have used Brach or Caratini. Probably not enough time to warm up Caratini. Wouldn’t want to risk blowing the lead with Brach.
crunch 10 hours 54 min ago (view)
gonna be in ATL over the 4th and catching the young braves club in person. i really don't like going to that park (hey, who wants 3-4 hours of the "tommy hawk chawp"?), but i wanna see this collection of kids.
Eric S 10 hours 54 min ago (view)
Kyle Ryan playing like a man who wants to keep his big league roster spot - well done!!
crunch 10 hours 56 min ago (view)
if javy has the ball you gotta play like you're on a basketball court. until the play is dead, no matter what your view is, that ball could be coming at you at any time from any angle.
bote also goofed earlier in the season playing 3rd during a lester start by not knowing how extreme one needs to cover for him. yeah, technically it should be lester's play, but realistically the 3rd baseman has more range to cover with lester on the mound.
Eric S 10 hours 57 min ago (view)
Barnette’s 88-91 mph fastball really is, uh, not very special.
Eric S 10 hours 59 min ago (view)
But for Flowers and the pitchers spot, the Braves lineup is relentless. When McCann plays, the only hole is the pitchers spot. Tough club.
crunch 11 hours 4 min ago (view)
welcome to the cubs barnette.
6 pitches to his 1st batter, solo HR.
you're gonna fit in just fine.
Eric S 11 hours 20 min ago (view)
Thanks Phil. What kind of prospect(s) do you think it would take to pick up Melky?
Eric S 11 hours 30 min ago (view)
Not the first time Bote has frozen on a catchable ball from Javy at second ... and leads to two unearned runs. Damn. Love Bote, but when you’re playing with Javy, you better expect the unexpected
crunch 11 hours 51 min ago (view)
also, wow at that 10 mile long leash teheran got to totally suck.
Eric S 11 hours 56 min ago (view)
Pro tip to the Cubs: score a ton of runs, then score a ton more. These Braves specialize in pulverizing and bludgeoning teams into oblivion, particularly after the six inning.
Eric S 12 hours 2 min ago (view)
Walnuts suck. Just sayin’
Arizona Phil 12 hours 11 min ago (view)
The Cubs have officially signed three more 2019 draft picks: RHP Zach Bryant (15th round - Jacksonville), RHP Johzan Oquendo (16th round - Leadership Christian Academy - Guaynabo, PR), and RHP Shane Combs (31st round - Notre Dame).
So the Cubs have now signed 24 of their 40 draft picks.
Arizona Phil 12 hours 18 min ago (view)
ERIC S: Dixon Machado is a glove-first SS (can also play 2B-3B) and a high contact hitter who is starting to show some HR pop. As for a veteran bat who might be available in a trade, OF Melky Cabera (PIT) might be a good target (switch-hitter who can play both OF corners).