mariners

What Could Munenori Kawasaki Bring To The Seattle Mariners?

Wedge Will Make The Call

The Mariners had a backup short stop on their wish list for this off season, but they may get a replacement starter instead.

Brendan Ryan was definitely the unsung hero for the Seattle Mariners last season.  While his .248 average may not show it, Ryan was one of the more consistent offensive forces for the M’s in 2011.

Ryan had one of the clubs two grand slams, while his great awareness on the base paths turned singles into triples.

The thing with Ryan is that when he is hot – he is HOT.  When he is not he is NOT. 

His first year in Seattle showed him gaining a career high… in strike outs.

On Defense

Defensively though, he is considered to be one of the best in the Major Leagues.

His abilities were enough to drive out Jack and Josh Wilson both of whom were excellent defensively for the M’s.

Ryan is also a strong veteran presence for the M’s and is well liked by fans and fellow players.  However, he has been prone to injury over the few years and is likely why the Cardinals were willing to deal him away.

Both Jack Zduriencik and Eric Wedge have mentioned a need for depth at short until such time that prospect Nick Franklin is ready to start at the Major League level.

They were shopping around and had extended an invite to spring training to Louis Rodriguez who filled in the role of back up short stop and general utility infielder for the M’s last season.

Munenori Kawasaki

Munenori Kawasaki is invited to spring training by the Seattle Mariners. (AP Photo/Wally Santana, File)

Early in the offseason, Munenori Kawasaki who is a Japenese superstar indicated that he was interested in playing in the American Major Leagues, but only if it was with Ichiro in Seattle.

Game Changer

What you need to know about Kawasaki is that he has the possibility to be a game changer.

In his five year career he holds a .295 batting average and has shown to have similar defensive capabilities as Brendan Ryan.

At first report, there was question as to the reality of this claim, but the Mariners are having Kawasaki report to spring training in Peoria Arizona as a non-roster invitee.

What this means is that the front office will be leaving the final decision on Kawasaki with Manager Eric Wedge.

Practice?

Kawasaki has no assurances and his time in Spring Training will be little more than an extended tryout.

The fact that the M’s have not signed Kawasaki to a full contract show that they are faithful to Ryan at this point, but a smooth Spring could put Ryan’s place in the starting lineup under question.

Kawasaki is not a power hitter by any means, hitting only a single home run last year, but he has 30+ stolen bases in his past three seasons.

His average plus stolen base record could give Seattle the fresh option they need for a leadoff hitter.

If I were Ryan I’d be calling my agent and hitting the gym.

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  • Ace76

    ok so now we have a Suzuki and a Kawasaki, add a Honda and a Toyota and we’re set!

  • Mark

    Now we have Suzuki, Kawasaki and Iwakuma. Forget the Honda & Toyota and just support the team by showing up at the games.

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