Missing out on signing Takashi Toritani, who decided to remain in Japan, the Blue Jays signed the next best Japanese middle infielder available in Munenori Kawasaki according to a Bisons media release. Like the previous two seasons, Kawasaki signed a minor league deal with an invitation to major league camp in spring training.
The Blue Jays still do not have a bona fide everyday second baseman in the major leagues so I think we can all expect that he would appear on the major league roster for a good length of time some time this year. He brings a decent glove at second, short, and third (although his arm is probably not good enough at third for prolonged periods) and an acceptable bat so he is actually a good, affordable bench guy. We just don't want him to end up starting five games a week.
The 33-year-old fan favourite is believed to have turned down a chance to play in Japan for more money than this minor deal would give him. It's nice to see that there are players out there who enjoy playing in Toronto (and Buffalo).
Kawasaki will likely return to play short in cold, cold Buffalo to begin the season. Whether he is the starting shortstop or the backup infielder down there probably depends on how Ryan Goins hits and whether Goins can stick in the big leagues.