It’s always a possibility for a veteran on a minor league deal when the end of Spring Training rolls around. Whether by virtue of the team deciding they’d rather use the AAA roster spot on a youngster, or the veteran opting out of his deal to find a better one elsewhere, sometimes, veterans head out this time of year.
So it is for the Cubs and … wait … no … NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
#Cubs release Kawasaki today
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 28, 2017
A fan and clubhouse favorite, Munenori Kawasaki was a member of the 2016 Cubs (periodically, at least, as he spent most of his year at AAA Iowa), and returned on a minor league deal. At 35, he may understandably not want to keep riding the bus if there are other opportunities out there for him (in MLB, or perhaps even back in Japan).
Silver lining! I DEMAND A SILVER LINING!
There’s a silver lining:
Roster at 30 after Kawasaki released. Cubs giving him shot to explore big-league opportunities. If that doesn't happen, Cubs want him back.
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) March 28, 2017
So there’s a chance Kawasaki could return, though rooting for that – in the face of him getting another big league shot elsewhere – feels kind of dick-ish.
Still, he’s great defensively-inclined middle infield depth, and the Cubs actually don’t have a ton of that in the upper minors (Chesny Young just became even more important). Perhaps Kawasaki will return when this is all said and done, and the Cubs organization would be better for it in more ways than one.
We'll see you when we see you, Muni. pic.twitter.com/vfmgXPOoqS
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) March 28, 2017