Mariners Sign Munenori Kawasaki

The Mariners have signed Japanese shortstop Munenori Kawasaki to a minor league contract, tweets Matt Eddy of Baseball America. MLB has confirmed the move, Eddy notes. Kawasaki, 30, was a free agent and could sign without a posting fee.

Kawasaki posted a .267/.310/.327 with 31 stolen bases in 655 plate appearances as Softbank's shortstop in 2011. The Mariners, who are also nearing a deal with Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, have been linked to Kawasaki since last month.

42 Responses to Mariners Sign Munenori Kawasaki Leave a Reply

  1. redsx968 3 years ago

    Meh. Decent I guess. Can he play anywhere else in the infield?

  2. CaseyMcLain 3 years ago

    If he can play SS he can probably play 2b at least, if not 3b also. Maybe not 3b at MLB level. 

  3. Yes, Japanese pile!!! Iwakuma, Kawasaki!

  4. Tony Matias 3 years ago


    • soxfan123123 3 years ago

      your picture is disgusting haha

      • Tony Matias 3 years ago

        I thought it was an appropriate pic for what I think the M’s have done in the off season. :)

  5. Kendall Adkins 3 years ago


  6. EdinsonPickle 3 years ago

    I’m excited to see the M’s turn into the ragtag group of Japanese All-Stars that will catch lightning in a bottle and win 117 games en route to the franchise’s first WS title before fading away into mediocrity and obscurity. Seriously, this is going to be like Seven Samurai, but with baseball.

  7. Great move for the Seattle Supersonics.

  8. Jon Melton 3 years ago

    Sub 700 ops in japanese leauge,  watchout cal ripkin

    • JohnnyHamer 3 years ago

      Watch out spelling and capitalization.

      • Jon Melton 3 years ago

        If yuse dont lies it goto an English grammar blog or is it to much to focus on sports in a sports blog

        • Jon Melton 3 years ago

          I see you are an O’s fan so I would say any hope of contention  is out the window in Jan. anyways keep up the spelling and capitalization.

          • Ken Leder 3 years ago

            You do notice that you are saying that to yourself right?

    • Kurisu Rg 3 years ago

      It’s the Mariners. He’ll probably bat third in that lineup.

  9. Yuck. .267/.310 in the Japan league translates to .220/.290 i’m guessing. His 30 steals probably means 10-13 here. Don’t know how good his D is though…

    • vertigoman 3 years ago

      Stolen bases translate pretty well actually. His defense is said to be plus plus.
      Hits LHed and evidently knows how to bunt quite well. Juan Pierre esque at SS.
      I’ll take it. It’s a no risk contract and he could contribute. Look at what Punto got.
      Kind of a no brainer move.

      • Fifty_Five 3 years ago

        Juan Pierre actually has some offensive value though. More of another Brendan Ryan with worse D

        • vertigoman 3 years ago

          Except Ryan bats RHd, isn’t a good bunter and isn’t a great base stealer.
          But yeah, their skill sets match up almost perfectly.

    • They changed the ball in Japan last year and hitters struggled mightily. The new ball is more similar to the one used in MLB and generally hurt power numbers. That’s what always has been observed: guys who hit 30-40 homeruns in Japan just hit 10-20 in the MLB. Only Matsui (who had something like 50 homeruns in Japan) put up decent power numbers. That’s also why they changed the ball: Japan lacks real power hitters.
      That being said – Kawasaki has never been a power threat in Japan (max 4 homeruns a season) though he had an avg above .300 in 2004, 2006-2008 and 2010. Seeems like he relies more an speed (especially infield singles) just like Ichiro.

  10. tdot32 3 years ago

    .267 in japan? ouch.

    that’s the equilivalent of .002 in the majors, so good thing they only inked for a minor league deal.

  11. MadisonMariner 3 years ago an M’s fan, this is nothing great, but nothing terrible.

    It’s a minor league contract, so no huge committment on the M’s part, and looking at his stats, a minor league contract with an NRI to spring training seems about right for Kawasaki.

    He’ll likely compete with Luis Rodriguez(who, after being on the team last year, was given an outright assignment to AAA in October or November, refused it, became a free agent, then re-signed with the M’s on a minor league contract).  One of them will likely earn the job of primary utility infielder.  Or, perhaps both make the team if Chone Figgins is miraculously traded before Opening Day and Kyle Seager earns the starting 3B job as a result.

    Good depth move, but nothing more.

  12. Eric 3 years ago

    It will be interesting to see how Kawasaki and Iwakuma affect Ichiro. Kawasaki is a good bet to become the back-up for Seattle’s middle infield. And if Ryan is traded, Kawasaki could be the bridge between Brendan Ryan and Nick Franklin.

  13. Can we buy some Hattori Hanzo swords now? Should be fun for the clubhouse…

  14. CrustyJuggler 3 years ago

    I doubt he breaks with the club.  His bat really looks completely worthless.

  15. m4r1n3r 3 years ago

    Nothing special here no but its not a terrible signing either.

  16. Eric 3 years ago

    I think that Munenori Kawasaki is going to be a bit of an underdog due to his poor 2011 season with Softbank. But remember that he is only 30, and in 2010 he had 190 hits. His career numbers are .295/.344/.377; he isn’t going to hit for power, but you can count on him for speed (he has 147 stolen bases over 5 seasons).

  17. I think this signing was just to please the Jap crowd that follow the M’s. Won’t hurt any one. He sounds excited to come and play for the M’s so he should be a welcome team member. 
    We have a Suzuki, Kawasaki… but we really need a Harley. 

  18. Guest 3 years ago

    since his name is kawasaki, maybe his teammates are looking for a hook up for free motorcycles

  19. Joshua Thompson 3 years ago

    HOLY HELL! THIS IS GREAT NEWS! We signed Munenori Kawasaki! He’s the most coveted left handed, middle career, short stop coming out of Japan this year! And think of all the revenue possibilities! The Mariner’s sales department will finally land the big Kawasaki of Tukwila advertising deal that they’ve been holding their breath on. 

    I was holding out on supporting the M’s till they made an off-season move that showed they were serious about putting a championship caliber team on the field. They started out good when they acquired Jaso, and started to peak my interest when they hooked big time free agent George Sherill to solidify the pen. But Kawasaki! Damn! This is SO AWESOME!

    And to think that in our small, four team division, Texas is just riding on the lorals of two consecutive World Series appearances. And the Angles? Picked up a couple of no names. Albert and some guy named C.J. something. Well guess what AL West! Look in the rear view mirror baby. Cause the M’s are back in business!

    On a serious note. Oakland spent more money on one player than the M’s have all off season. Coco Crisp. Jesus. Oakland has topped us in the off season so far by signing Coco Crisp. 

    • Guest 3 years ago

      think about it….ichiballs riding a kawasaki….awesome marketing!!!

      • Joshua Thompson 3 years ago

        Maybe if he need’s a Kawasaki. Ichiro’s ability to beat out an infield single last year tanked from his career average. 

    • seajtl 3 years ago

      Please stop being a Mariners fan.

  20. redsx968 3 years ago

    I’m assuming the Yeeesh is a Michael Scott reference? If so, kudos

  21. Ichiroll 3 years ago

    If anyone has been paying attention to the market for Kawasaki, you’d know that the only market for Kawasaki was the Mariners. He stated about a month ago that the only team he wanted to play for was the Mariners, even if it meant taking a minor league contract. He’s a good defensive SS with speed, any team would have made this move in a heartbeat…. 


  22. As I’ve said all along, trading Felix at this point makes absolutely zero sense when you can trade Pineda, Paxton, Walker or Hultzen. Obviously you won’t get as much for Pineda or the rest of them right now, because Felix is a proven ace.

  23. Tyrell Osborne 3 years ago

    Felix actually hates the Yankees, and even said the top 2 teams he’d never play for is the Red Sox and Yankees, so go to hell

  24. Guest 3 years ago

    free bike to just play with is cool…just a little humor there ridgeway

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