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 52 min 8 sec ago (view)
don't worry, i'm sure even though he was spared from cuts there's some hardship he's being tortured with that he has to unfairly overcome. #coreystrong #onthecross #yolo #swag #kony2012
crunch 53 min 40 sec ago (view)
there's no way a system like that or something similar to that would work.
"oh hi." - green bay packers
*shoves out of way*
like i said, there's no way that would work.
Hagsag 3 hours 49 min ago (view)
Corey Black still has a job.
Charlie 3 hours 57 min ago (view)
I am ready for MLB owners to give it a f***ing rest. I don't have any outrage to spare on them.
If they can't afford this crisis, maybe they can surrender franchise rights to the players, grounds crew, concession employees, etc., and MLB teams can be employee owned.
Dolorous Jon Lester 8 hours 10 min ago (view)
Couldn't have said it better myself, unfortunately.
JustSayin' 16 hours 38 min ago (view)
These players weren't cut/released; laid off is more like it. Fifty-two minor leaguers let go before any real games played, in two waves. The draft will be five rounds this year, not forty. This is industrial downsizing, anticipating no traditional season this year and capitulation to MLB demands for a much smaller minor league system in 2021. Next year or 2022 could also see a labor stoppage in the big leagues, over what promises to be a very tough CBA negotiation. The game will not be what it used to be after this.
crunch 20 hours 26 min ago (view)
i don't blame the ownership/font office for doing what they did with bryant. it was just kinda bad timing that bryant was the client that boras was finally "i'm sick of this" over. the cubs were warned that boras was going to make a stand and it dragged on so long there has to be some kind of toll on the boras/cubs relationship.
bigsky33 20 hours 33 min ago (view)
Hi Phil, yes, hoping for an extended AZ Fall League. Do you think there will be more cuts? De La Cruz was the only big sureprise to me. I thought he had some upside.
Dolorous Jon Lester 22 hours 26 min ago (view)
It'll be more over when Kris leaves. Or whenever the same thing happens to another of his clients.
He isn't wrong though...
Arizona Phil 22 hours 38 min ago (view)
Presuming there is no traditional minor league season in 2020, expect an expanded Arizona Fall League (with potentially a new "Florida Fall League" as well) for the best prospects and expanded post-season instructs for other minor leaguers (all TBA).
Arizona Phil 22 hours 50 min ago (view)
My understanding is that the other two Cubs minor leaguers who are to be released are the two post-2019 Article XX-B MLB free-agents who signed 2020 minor league contracts, Brandon Morrow and Jason Kipnis. The Cubs will then supposedly re-sign them to new minor league contracts without the $100K retention bonus and 6/1 opt-out.
Arizona Phil 22 hours 53 min ago (view)
CRUNCH: Agreed. Not counting the "4-A" guys, Oscar de la Cruz is the one legit MLB prospect on the list.
crunch 22 hours 58 min ago (view)
aww...de la cruz had some decent looking spring outings (though late inning spring work isn't exactly challenging). the years of injuries insanely slowed his progression. totally wouldn't mind seeing him return in 2021 if the team would still be on his radar after getting cut at a time like this.
crunch 1 day 19 min ago (view)
that whole "kris bryant thing" is over...but it's never going to be over as long as this ownership group and boras is around.
boras could have focused this on 29 other teams, especially the more vocal ones because the cubs have been mostly silent. the cubs aren't the only team out there paying off "creatively financed" loans, either.
he chose the cubs.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
Not looking forward to seeing that list. Hate to see it when a guy you've invested any sort of energy in is given up on.
Cubster 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
Chi Tribune today. Boras picks, and focused on the Ricketts.
Headline writer, fun job: Agent won’t let Cubs get away Scott-free Matt York/AP and Paul Sullivan.
Boras told his players “the game can not be played without you” and asked them to share the concept with teammates and opposing players when “MLB requests further concessions or deferral of salaries” during negotiations.