Does Munenori Kawasaki Have His Sights Set On Returning To Japan?
The Toronto Blue Jays neglected to exercise Munenori Kawasaki‘s $1 million dollar option for the upcoming 2014 season making the fan favourite a free agent. One has to wonder if Kawasaki has his sights set on returning to his native Japan where he spent the first eleven years of his professional baseball career.
The option originally seemed like a no-brainer for the Jays prior to the conclusion of the season given the rock star status that Kawasaki generated amongst players and fans. The .229 hitter was fundamentally sound all season and could be a valuable resource to a contender in a utility bench player role however the Jays may be privy to his intentions on returning to his homeland explaining the non-move.
According to http://yakyubaka.com the Softbank Hawks and the Orix Buffaloes both have interest in the services of Kawasaki. The infielder spent 6 seasons with the Hawks who are very familiar with what Kawasaki brings to the diamond.
The Hawks are interested in bringing back both Munenori Kawasaki and Tsuyoshi Wada.
Source: Nikkan Sports 11/3/2013
The Buffaloes are also interested in Munenori Kawasaki. A person with connections to the team is quoted as saying, “he has everything this team currently needs.”
Hiroshi Moriwaki has ties to Kawasaki dating back to when the infielder first joined the Hawks organization in 2000.
Source: Sports Hochi 11/3/2013
Furthermore http://yakyubaka.com also reported that Kawasaki visited former players and coaches on Wednesday in Japan.
Munenori Kawasaki visited YafuOku Dome on Wednesday to say hello to former teammates and coaches. With regards to 2014, he said to reporters, “I do not know any details. However, I think I will be living and running around some where again next year.”
Source: Sponichi 10/30/2013
Obviously this is pure speculation but Kawasaki’s wife also gave birth to their first child near the conclusion of the season which could play a factor in his decision to return to Japan. Time will tell if the Jays sign the breath of fresh air but you can guarantee their is a legion of Jays fans who would all pool their money to pay his salary for Kawasaki to remain north of the border.