So Munenori Kawasaki Is Finally Official Now

I was sitting at lunch, trying to enjoy an unusually disappointing corned beef hash, when I felt my phone buzz. A text or an email! Someone is aware of me! I reached into my pocket to investigate, and I saw that the cause was an emailed press release. Said press release:

Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik announced today the club has signed Japanese infielder Munenori Kawasaki to a minor league contract with an invite to Major League Spring Training.

Kawasaki was in Seattle last month. He said that he only wanted to play for the Mariners, and that he was willing to sign a minor league contract. It was basically a foregone conclusion that he would sign a minor league contract. Several days ago, he implied that he had signed a minor league contract. Now, finally, we have official confirmation that he has signed a minor league contract. This was like the drawn-out Erik Bedard saga, only instead of Erik Bedard it's someone way worse.

I don't know why this took so long to finalize, but it's possible that this kept repeating.

Kawasaki's agent: You're sure you only want to play for the Mariners?
Kawasaki: Yes.
Kawasaki's agent: The Seattle Mariners.
Kawasaki: Yes.
Kawasaki's agent: You're sure you only want to play for the Mariners?
Kawasaki: Yes.
Kawasaki's agent: The Seattle Mariners.
Kawasaki: Yes.

I uh...I've talked enough about Kawasaki that I don't know what else to say. He still doesn't project as a very good hitter. He doesn't project as a good hitter, either, or even as an average hitter. It just occurred to me that "not very good" is interpreted as being a lot more negative than it should be. I think he projects as an above-average defender, which is his selling point. That, and his complete and total devotion.

Kawasaki will compete for a Major League job against Luis Rodriguez and probably others. He might win that job. If he doesn't, it'll be interesting to see how willing he is to hang out in Tacoma. You can't play with Ichiro in Tacoma. A lot of minor league contracts come with opt-out dates in case the player isn't in the Majors by a certain point. I don't know if Kawasaki's contract has one of those, or if he'd exercise it in the event that it does. I'm guessing no.

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