As per the Seattle Times, the Mariners bought out Miguel Olivo’s $3M option for $750K, and have sadly released Munenori Kawasaki.
Miguel Olivo’s $750K buyout is a sunk cost, so any evaluation of his option should consider his 2013 salary to be $2.25M. On that note, let’s take a look at some telling projections:
My analysis suggests that Olivo will be worth less to the Mariners next season than I will, and that his $750K buyout should be redirected to my bank account. I summarize my opinions on Olivo’s 2013 status with a Venn Diagram:
Kawasaki, while not much of a baseball player in Seattle, was very much a fun guy to have around. He will be missed by me, and I assume many of you.
October 24, 2012. Mark it on your calendars as the day the hopes and dreams of all fun-loving Seattle Mariners fans were destroyed. On this date in history, Munenori Kawasaki — he of the crowd-waving, dugout-dancing, fake-base-stealing whimsy — was released by the only Major League Baseball team to have ever employed him. Let’s all now share a moment of silence in honor of Mune.
From a business perspective, it makes sense. There are any number of utility middle infielders around the game of baseball who can bat .192, drive in seven runs, and get caught stealing in fifty-percent of their four attempts. But for Christ’s sake, how many of those utility middle infielders will willingly break out spontaneous dance moves in the dugout, flop their wrists in between pitches at the plate (for dramatic effect, we can assume), leap across the infield lawn when a game has just been won, or smile every single day, for no reason at all? None, I imagine. None of those other guys will do it. Except Kawasaki.
In nearly 28 years of loyal Mariner fandom, I have never seen such a statistically ordinary bench player garner so much love from the team’s supporters for reasons that have so little to do with baseball. In a 2012 season that was as disappointing as they come, Kawasaki gave fans something to latch onto, even when he did little more than entertain from the sidelines. All one had to do to witness the Mune lovefest is check Twitter around, say, the eighth or ninth inning of every Mariners game. If Kawasaki had entered the contest in the latter frames — be it as a defensive replacement or pinch runner, most likely — one’s social media timeline would explode with otherwise-random outbursts of “KAWASAKI!!!” to go with a bevy of comments, pictures, animated GIFs, or YouTube videos of Japan’s other favorite son (after Ichiro, of course).
This adoration I have for Mune isn’t limited to just a few fans, either. Shortly after news of his release broke on Wednesday, “Munenori Kawasaki” was a trending topic in Seattle on Twitter. Never mind the fact that Miguel Olivo, a starter, had also been cut along with Kawasaki. Everyone was talking about the 31-year-old backup who had appeared in all of 61 games in his first (and in all likelihood, last) season with the M’s. People cared about Mune. They enjoyed him. And frankly, it’s gonna suck not seeing him in a Mariner uniform next year.
Type “Munenori Kawasaki” into a Google search box and the first four AutoFill options that appear are “Munenori Kawasaki dancing,” “Munenori Kawasaki gif,” “Munenori Kawasaki twitter,” and “Munenori Kawasaki energy boy.” I guarantee that no other baseball player, let alone professional athlete, let alone human being, enjoys that odd collection of search terms to go along with their name. Which speaks volumes about the person who Mune happens to be.
Kawasaki was the everyman given a chance to play baseball. We rallied around him because we could identify with his joy for a game he had the opportunity to turn into a career. Every single one of us would be thrilled to have his job. And unlike so many of his colleagues, he was thrilled to have his job, too. It didn’t matter if he was sitting or starting; Kawasaki brought his personality to the park every single night. He was fun to watch, fun to have around, and fun to experience when the 2012 campaign more or less went down the tank.
But Major League Baseball is a business. And a conscious business decision was made to part ways with Mune. I get it. I just don’t like it. There are certain intangibles you look for in team players for a team sport. Kawasaki seemed to possess all those necessary intangibles and then some. On top of that, he was cost-effective, earning a near-league-minimum $625,000 on the year. (I know that seems like a lot of money, and it is. But for comparison purposes, consider that in the final two seasons of the show Friends, each “Friend” earned $1,000,000 per episode. Per episode! Would you rather watch a season’s worth of David Schwimmer’s horrible acting at the ridiculous rate of $22 million dollars or a season’s worth of Kawasaki’s quirky antics at a fraction of the cost? Yeah. Pretty easy decision.)
Kawasaki, on behalf of many Mariners fans, you will be sorely missed here in Seattle. You made us laugh over and over again, you made boring games tolerable, you made great games better, and you were a pleasure to be around. I wish you all the best in whatever you pursue next, and sincerely hope that you’ll continue to spread your happiness for life to as many people as you possibly can.
And on one final note, I’ll say this: Nobody, and I mean nobody, will ever mount Casper Wells with as much unbridled passion as you did. That was freakin’ beautiful and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it through my television set.
You’re a gem, Mune. A lustrous gem. Shine bright.
Filed under: Mariners
I Asked My Twitter Followers to Make An Amazing Munenori Kawasaki Tribute Video and Someone Actually Did It
Half-jokingly, I propositioned my Twitter followers about making a Munenori Kawasaki tribute video in the mold of this beautiful monstrosity from earlier today. Except I wanted this tribute video to be set to One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful. Why? I don’t know why. It was a joke. And What Makes You Beautiful is a goofy-yet-catchy song. These things don’t have to make sense. It’s Twitter.
Anyway, someone actually took me up on my joke-offer. Yep. For real. And they managed to do it in less than half a day. Those are results you can’t generally get from the American workforce, so we have to assume that the mystery person behind this artwork is from far away lands.
As it turns out, the creator of Mune: What Makes You Beautiful is also the owner of the @NotKawasaki Twitter handle. It’s obviously a parody account dedicated to the M’s infielder, so will we ever know who truly bestowed this magical YouTube video upon us? Maybe not. That can only add to the legend, I figure.
Without further ado, here’s greatness:
Filed under: Mariners
Tags: Munenori Kawasaki
Go to YouTube and search “Munenori Kawasaki” and you’ll keep an idiot busy for hours. Any red-blooded human being could be entertained by Kawasaki doing all sorts of Kawasaki things for the better part of a day.
That said, among all the giggle-inducing clips of and pertaining to the Mariners’ most beloved middle infielder, the following video may be the most hilarious I’ve ever seen. It appears to be some sort of Japanese fan-made PowerPoint presentation, set to the tune of an equally-hilarious Japanese pop song, all blended together with images of Kawasaki being Kawasaki. Words can’t do it proper justice, so just see for yourself:
And just in case you don’t find that video funny, here’s a moving GIF of Kawasaki mounting Casper Wells after a win. You’ve probably seen this before, but it’s worth seeing again.
Ahh, Kawasaki. You are the greatest.
Filed under: Mariners
Tags: Munenori Kawasaki
I have been hearing people hoping for the call up of Tacoma shortstop Carlos Triunfel recently, and I think it is ridiculous. Triunfel was once a top prospect, but his status as the future shortstop of the Mariners has slipped away. Nevertheless, … [visit site to read more]
With a look at the stats, you will see the Mariner’s disappointing .238 batting average and .275 BABIP. These are pretty discouraging numbers, but don’t mark this offense as a failure yet.
What the batting average doesn’t show is … [visit site to read more]
Tags: alex liddi, brendan ryan, Casper Wells, Chone Figgins, dustin ackley, featured, Ichiro, Jesus Montero, John Jaso, justin smoak, kyle seager, Mariners General, Michael Saunders, miguel olivo, Munenori Kawasaki, Popular, Stats
Just yesterday I was pondering how much longer the Mariners would wait to trim a few loose strings. Today those strings have been neatly trimmed…kind of.
Here is your Seattle Mariners 2012 Opening Day Roster.
Tags: alex liddi, Blake Beavan, Brandon League, brendan ryan, Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush, Chone Figgins, dustin ackley, Erasmo Ramirez, featured, Felix Hernandez, George Sherrill, Hector Noesi, hisashi iwakuma, Ichiro Suzuki, Jason Vargas, Jesus Montero, John Jaso, justin smoak, kevin millwood, kyle seager, Lucas Luetge, Mariners General, Michael Saunders, miguel olivo, Mike Carp, Munenori Kawasaki, Popular, shawn Kelley, Steve Delabar, Tom Wilhelmsen
Well as Bryant just reported, Hong-Chih Kuo has been released by the Mariners. His struggles this spring are too bad, I and too wish the best for the guy.
Now … [visit site to read more]
Tags: carlos triunfel, Cesar Jimenez, Charlie Furbush, Danny Hultzen, Erasmo Ramirez, George Sherrill, hong chih kuo, james paxton, kevin millwood, Mariners General, mauricio robles, Munenori Kawasaki, nick franklin, Popular, spring training, Vinnie Catricala
Tags: Aaron Heilman, alex liddi, Blake Beaven, Caesar Jimenez, featured, Jeff Marquez, Josh Kinney, kevin millwood, Lucas Luetge, luis rodriguez, Mariners General, Matt Fox, Munenori Kawasaki, Oliver Perez, Philippe Valiquette, Popular, Sean Henn, Trayvon Robinson, Vinnie Catricala
I like using declarative statements. Because, I like people to assume I’m using facts. The thing about using a declarative statements is that it has no bearing on being true or false. So I could say that without a doubt the following thoughts are … [visit site to read more]
We got the Winter Meetings going on this weekend and as you hear mentioned consistently by just about every media news source this is often a place where the ground work for the “big” off-season deals begins to be laid. JJ Putz, Cliff Lee both deals started at this point and while one was consummated here and one wasn’t both get their roots from here.
I’ll be honest and a bit of a buzz kill I really still am not sold that any “big” really happens this off-season. While it certainly is appealing considering the state of the roster it just doesn’t make sense with the large amount of question marks facing this team. From Justin Smoak and Mike Carp to Franklin Gutierrez and Casper Wells. Not to mention Alex Liddi, Trayvon Robinson, Kyle Seager and Adam Moore.
As I pointed out earlier Greg Johns highlighted a few Jack Zduriencik quotes he also made out a sort of shopping list for the team. I figured I’d throw out a few thoughts on the list.
Tags: Bobby LaFromboise, Brendan Ryan Luis Rodriguez, brian moran, Casper Wells, Cesar Jimenez, Dexter Fowler, erik bedard, kevin millwood, Michael Saunders, Munenori Kawasaki, nick franklin, Off-Season, Seth Smith, Travis Snider, Will Venable, winter meetings