Reports: Blue Jays Ink Munenori Kawasaki to Minor League Deal


August 8, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Seattle Mariners shortstop Munenori Kawasaki (61) bunts in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY SportsAccording to Japanese website Sanspo, the Blue Jays have reached an agreement with 31-year-old infielder Munenori Kawasaki. Kawasaki is scheduled to fly to the United States in the next few days and take a physical. Once the physical is passed, the two parties will finalize the deal.

We originally discussed Toronto’s interest in the one-time Seattle Mariner back on February 17th, when the Blue Jays were considering the light-hitter for possible minor league depth in the middle infield.

Munenori lasted just 61 games with the Mariners, mustering a measly .192 batting average and .459 OPS in 115 plate appearances, and the Mariners released him following the 2012 season. However, Munenori was a .294 over the course of his final five seasons in Japan and averaged 30 stolen bases. He also appeared on the Japanese national team in the 2008 Beijing Olympic games and in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic.

A slap hitter in the mold of Ichiro Suzuki, Munenori will likely spend most of his time at Triple-A Buffalo, trying to work his way up as a possible bench player and pinch-runner. However, he will have plenty of company in the middle infield with players like Ryan Goins, Jim Negrych, Eugenio Velez, and Lance Zawadzki all vying for roster spots this spring, and they all have a leg up at this stage.

As a fan, do you think the Blue Jays needed to add this depth or is this just Alex Anthopoulos doing his due diligence?