Fan-favourite Munenori Kawasaki has re-signed with the Blue Jays to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league spring training camp, according to an official Blue Jays tweet.
The @BlueJays have agreed to terms with INF MUNENORI KAWASAKI on a 2014 minor league contract with invite to Major League spring training.— Blue Jays-Official (@BlueJays) December 24, 2013
Kawasaki had a $1 million option for 2014 that was declined by Toronto at the end of the season, making him a free agent. Had the Blue Jays picked up that option, Kawasaki would've been placed on the 40-man roster. As a minor league signing, Kawasaki does not have to take up a place on that roster.
The 32-year-old infielder first signed with the Blue Jays half-way through spring training in 2013 in a depth move, but only played two games with the Buffalo Bisons before his contract was selected to replace the injured Jose Reyes in early April. He gave the Blue Jays moderate defence in the middle infield positions and poor offence (hitting .229/.326/.308), but most importantly he gave the fans a lot of excitement and good memories. He had but one home run, but how could anyone forget their feeling after seeing this?
Kawasaki will provide the depth role again for the Blue Jays. Hopefully, for the big club, he will spend the majority of this time in Bisons gear (Buffalonians love him too) and comes up just occasionally for the crowd to cheer at him. With Ryan Goins looking like he's going to stick with Toronto, the Bisons will need infielders, and at least right now it looks like Kawasaki will get to start most nights. Mike McCoy is gone and there really isn't a boatload of infield prospects banging on the triple-A door.
Most Jays fans know that he is a replacement-level player, but he's one of the most fun replacement players I know about, so good on the Jays for bringing the guy back into the fold.