There’s a New Smile in Town – Cubs sign Munenori Kawasaki

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All you fans out in Wrigley bemoaning the departure of Jonathan Herrera to the Colorado Rockies can rest easy. He won’t be out there rubbing his hands on his batting helmet this year, but there’s a new smile in town. Munenori Kawasaki, Muni to his fans, has signed a minor league deal. It would be no surprise to see him called up now and then, and when he is – look out!

You’ll never see a better interview with a player than Muni can provide, or better dugout dance moves. Just by his presence, he can lighten the entire mood of a game. He didn’t do much with his bat last year, hitting only .214 and batting in two runs, but he only played 23 innings. He’s got more enthusiasm than game cred, more energy than a sandlot full of ferrets.

He has a book full of quotes, a head full of jokes, and enough hugs and laughs to go around. He can dance like there’s no tomorrow, and after seeing his postseason celebration videos after the Toronto Blue Jays victories last fall, I can’t wait to see what he can do in Wrigley. Imagine WORLD SERIES Kawasaki.

And for all of the fun he brings, Muni is a pretty good infielder. He played all four infield positions for Toronto over the last two years, and his fielding percentages are good. He is athletic and steady – a great utility guy who can step in and fill a lot of gaps if necessary. His 2014 batting numbers were better, and that is likely because he played a lot more and was able to establish some rhythm, even while shuffling from position to position.

One thing is certain, if we get the chance to see what Joe Maddon and Muni can cook up off the field, it will be worth the show. No details on numbers, but I suspect he’ll be in Iowa and on short notice for call-ups.

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