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Seattle Mariners Finally Sign Munenori Kawasaki: A Fan’s Reaction
The Seattle Mariners finally got the deal done with Japanese star infielder Munenori Kawasaki. This is a Minor League deal that will allow Kawasaki to compete for a job on the Mariners in Spring Training. It's an interesting signing that got rumored for quite a while, but it isn't one that is going to impress very many Mariners fans.
Kawasaki is an eight-time All-Star over in Japan and the owner of two gold gloves at shortstop. Kawasaki is a very slick infielder, but playing shortstop for a Major League team is a bit different. Now he might just get that chance to prove he can do it, especially if he can put together a string of good performances at Spring Training 2012.
According to MLB.com, the Mariners had been seeking a backup shortstop for the 2012 season and it is that role that he will compete for in Arizona this spring. As a player that would likely take roster slot No. 25 for the Mariners, this doesn't seem like a very bad signing. It's really just a player that would give starting shortstop Brendan Ryan a day or two off during the season and possibly provide some base-running ability in late-inning situations.
Kawasaki had 262 stolen bases over in Japan and could likely give a lot of speed to the team, but he is also a guy that hits for singles and doesn't offer the power hitting that fans have clamored for over the past two years. Maybe he will provide a bit of excitement though and the front office could have ulterior motives in trying to get even more Japanese baseball fans interested in the Mariners. With Ichiro Suzuki and the recently signed Hisashi Iwakuma , the Mariners could become the first Major League team to have three former-Japanese stars at the same time.
Hopefully this is a signing that pans out for the team and that Kawasaki ends up bringing something positive to the table in Seattle. He still has to do well in Spring Training to earn a spot on the 25-man roster, but there isn't any reason to think that he can't secure a roster spot as the to-to utility infielder on the bench.
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*Ryan is a lifelong Seattle Mariners fan who never misses an opportunity to attend a game at Safeco Field. He has been attending games since 1985, and has fond memories of The Kingdome, Edgar Martinez, and the historic 1995 team. Sodo Mojo!
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