Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays

Well, here this is…

This doesn’t really come as a surprise, except that it kind of does. Given that everyone, fans and players alike, loves Munenori Kawasaki so much, there’s a good chance you’ll be sad to see Kawasaki go no matter where you stand on the issue of his demotion to AAA Buffalo. The debate over whether this is the correct baseball move is a lightly arguable talking point, but the impact of his popularity among members of the team is evident in the way that the news was apparently delivered to the team.

In his final display of plucky stand-up guyishnesss during this stint, Muni gave his final quotes to the reporters and didn’t skimp on the realness.

He also went on to say (through the aid of a translator) that he had an incredible experience with the club and appreciates all the support and acceptance for “one strange Japanese guy”.

In terms of offensive numbers, even though the talent level argument always swings things out of Kawasaki’s favour, he has actually performed at a higher level (0.8 WAR, 86 wRC+ in 185 PA) than Bonifacio (-0.7 WAR, 45 wRC+ in 208 PA) and Izturis (-1.0 WAR, 62 wRC+ in 227 PA) in his 60 games of service filling in for Jose Reyes. At the end of the day, Kawasaki has minor league options and the service of filling in for Reyes is no longer needed.

Jose Reyes will be in the starting lineup for the Blue Jays tomorrow afternoon, and that’s a very good thing. As for Kawasaki…

Comments (76)

  1. Relax. It’ll be ok. Everything is fine. Watch Munenori Kawasaki pet a puppy. Everything will be alright. http://i.imgur.com/hP0afQf.gif :(

    • This is the perfect first comment.

    • Oh man. More of this…

      • When I played our manager Kirk Gibson thought team physics was very important. That’s why he kept Sparky around. Sparky made everyone happy. I think he was Kirk’s dad but I’m not sure. I never asked.

        • Thanks for that Jack. I agree. But back to the ball game. Jose Bautista is on second and he’s asking what the count is. It’s a good thing to because he thought the count was 3-2. The count is 3-1. The count is 3-2 BUT there is only one out so it’s a good thing Bautista asked so Encarnacion won’t run on the next pitch.

        • It is important to be careful when asking questions about Sparky and his offspring, especially with Kirk Gibson around.

    • Among all the Kawasaki GIFs, this one might be the best.

    • Those thursting movements are a bit concerning, but at least the dog is happily asleep.

  2. As if the bluejays will all of the sudden stop getting injured..

  3. Whether you agree that this was the right baseball move or not, Munenori will be missed by every blue jays fan.

  4. An idiot—– Kawasaki demotion = big, big mistake. He is the spiritual heart of this team right now. You find a place for these guys. Gillick and Beeston would have. Big mistake, demonstrating total lack of understanding. Don’t be surprised if the losing resumes.
    Shut up barky

  5. Ricky is going to miss Willie Canatowaski

  6. I would’ve tried him at second. Can’t be worse than Bone Face or Iz-terrible.

    • Don’t look now (clearly you didn’t) but Macier is playing well, and 2B is his best position.

      • Actually I did look, asshole. Kawasaki has been better so far this season. Iz-Terrible has been a little better recently, but hardly good.

  7. So long for now, our strange Japanese prince.

    Hey everyone! Jose Reyes is back to being a Blue Jay! This is going to be awesome!

  8. I dont know, kawsaki is a fun character but from a baseball standpoint they are really going to miss his obp. That would have been tremendous value for him to get on base before the top heavy lineup comes up. Now, they are mainly relying on shitbag bonicrapio to play 2nd and be productive. Fuuuccckkk.

  9. I’m drinkin one to you tonight Muney.

    See you when the stretch out the roster in September kid.

    Saki-bombs!

  10. Maybe Reyes can get a hit against the Rays?

  11. On the bright side, JOSE REYES IS BACK!!!

  12. I’m just thankful he has options. Plus he’s only a baseball throw away in Buffalo you guys. He’s probably equally as entertaining as a Stars Wars themed Bisons night. And I heard the chicken wings in Buffalo are way better than the ones Rob Ford and us get back here at the KFCs in Toronto. Maybe Ricky can dress him up as Miss Japanese and find some of that magic back

  13. i still dont like the 8 man bullpen, but hopefully when lawrie and happ come back they will go back to 7 .

  14. Sorry to see Muni go as he was entertaining, but September 1st is just 67 days awa y. he’ll be back then if not sooner.

  15. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  16. Despite what some [s] esteemed [/s] blue jays writers/bloggers will tell you. Loving Muni is a real reason for a FAN of the Blue Jays to want to see him stick around.

    That being said, it’s the right move. And I’m grateful for every game we had with Kawasaki, he was a fucking HERO, not a mascot, that made it fun to watch the Jays when they were fucking shitty. And on top of that he contributed to helping this team as much as most of the other players on the Jays have.

    I, for one, hope he sticks with the organization and we see him back again one day (as long as its not because Reyes doesn’t fuck up again). And so should you.

  17. MY NAME IS MUNENORI KAWASAKI!

    I AM FROM JAPAN!

    I AM JAMPANEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

  18. While I agree that sending Mune down was the right move, there is (I think) a valid argument that Mune is a passable backup IF on a big league roster, intangibles aside. Before he got called up, looking at his numbers made me think “he’s 32, he is what he is- a putrid hitter who can play SS”, but what we saw from him while he was here makes me think his true talent level is close to the 86 wRC+ he posted this season- which is actually pretty damn decent compared to other middle-infielder types, starters or otherwise. And say what you will about the effectiveness of tactics like bunting and moving runners over late in close games, but if you’re going to have someone do it, I think everyone would rather see Mune at the plate than Bonifacio.

    All that being said, I think Mune stays down until an injury brings him back up or the September roster expansion rolls around. But maybe, just maybe, as the trade deadline grows nearer, AA can address a need by selling a team on Bonifacio, knowing he has “a strange Japanese guy” waiting in Buffalo.

  19. Can not WAIT to see Reyes back in the lineup. Muney will be missed, but….FUCK YEAH REYES

  20. Does Bonifacio have any options left?

    I’m guessing he doesn’t. But if he does, I’d have rather seen him gone down instead of Kawasaki.

    (By the way, is there some website where can check as to whether a player has options left?)

  21. Should be interesting to see how many games where the full 1-9 is healthy at the same time. So far the number is Zero.

  22. “Gibbons called the team together after the game and, with Kawasaki at his side, told the players about the decision.”

    I don’t understand how people can say that intangibles and chemistry don’t matter. When a manager feels the need to call the team together to break the news of a player’s demotion then you know there’s a lot more to what he brings to the team than just the numbers on the field. If Kawasaki’s departure is a bummer to us fans, it’s got to be that much more so for his teammates. On the bright, Reyes brings a lot of the same energy into the intangibles/team chemistry pot. So here’s hoping the Jays don’t miss the little guy from Japan too much.

    • Just to put it in context:

      “But Gibbons took the rare step on Tuesday of calling a team meeting to let other Jays players know Kawasaki was being sent down.

      “I’ve never seen that,” said Buehrle, a veteran of more than 14 seasons. “Usually you come in the next day and look at the guy’s locker and say, ‘Oh, that guy got sent down, this guy’s coming up.’” ”

      http://www.thestar.com/sports/bluejays/2013/06/25/blue_jays_stymied_again_by_rays_pitching.html

    • That just tells you that he had an unusually profound effect on his teammates. That much is very clear and nobody is denying that. That in no way, shape or form shows an influence of this on his teammates’ actual on-field performance.

  23. Ahh well, Kawasaki-san did what he was brought up to do, and more. You can’t ask any more out of a replacement player than that. He is a true entertainer, and the baseball world can and should learn from that.

  24. 100% the right move from a team depth point of view. No one is lost, and Muni will be back. Can’t wait to see his first AB at home when back…….the Dome will be shaking.

  25. At least he’ll get a ring, right?

  26. That quote from Muni about his demotion says it all. One of the best baseball/life quotes I’ve ever seen. No one has died.

    • The full quote:

      “It’s not as if I’ve died,” he said through a Japanese interpreter following Tuesday’s game. “I’m still a baseball player. It’s just that tomorrow the field will be different. I’m still around and I’m still here to help the team when they need it. And it’s been a terrific experience and I really appreciate everybody — and I love everybody.”

    • ^This. Muni could still be playing in Japan as a starter, if he wanted to.

  27. I’m not sure I understand the team’s obsession with having an 8 man bullpen right now.

    • They have pitched a shit ton of innings and have been one of the most effective bullpens in the league. starters have been questionable at best so it’s probably nice to not have to worry as much about workload. I think the questioning and criticizing around having an extra guy in the pen can probably fuck off about now.

  28. I gotta say, Muni’s time with the Jays reminds me a lot of Linsanity last year. But that too passed. I loved watching Muni play, he made a huge impact on this team when they needed it most. It was also really cool to give him a great experience up here, I’m going to assume he hasn’t heard many sold out stadiums chanting his name.

    Reyes will be back, and Muni will be the first INF call up if needed or in September when the rosters expand. All is right with the Jays, it’s like a new season with Reyes back, and we’re starting from a lot less of a hole than I figured we would be.

  29. Munenori Kawasaki, headed for Buffalo. Those of us who knew him best talk about him often. I swear, the stuff he pulled… Sometimes it makes me sad, though, Mune being gone. I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright and when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice, but still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone. I guess I just miss my friend.

  30. Guys, I don’t use the term hero often, but Kawasaki is the greatest hero in Toronto Blue Jays history

  31. fuck chemistry and all that noise… kawasaki is simply playing better baseball than bonifacio or izturis right now. i’d like to see the jays run out the best 9 players everyday…

      • yeah – he is.

        i’m not exactly sure what you are looking at but those offensive stats show that – whatever the hell the splits are – kawasaki has been the best offensive player of the three over that stretch.

        it looks like izturis is the 3B until lawrie gets back… are you suggesting that playing bonifacio at 2B gives them a better chance to win than kawasaki?

      • Kawasaki – fWAR 0.8 in 185 PAs
        Izturis – fWAR -1.0 in 231 PAs
        Bonifacio – fWAR -0.7 in 208 PAs

        Kawasaki – brWAR 1.2
        Izturis – brWAR -0.2
        Bonifacio – brWAR – 0.2

        so through about 200 PAs each Kawasaki has been worth between 1 and 2 wins more than either bonifacio or izturis. this team is at a point where a marginal win could be extremely valuable… yet for whatever reason they seem to be in asset management mode rather than win mode. it strikes me as absurd considering the future assets they gave up in the offseason in order to for it for the next few years.

        • My sample was the past 30 days, in which, from my POV they seem to have pretty comparable contributions. I acknowledge that over the full 200 you provided that Mune has been the most valuable. But I think we’ve seen the absolute worst of Izturis and Bonifacio so far this season and the absolute best of Kawasaki during his time.
          Izturis is showing signs of improvement recently and his ML track record indicates that he is the better player when compared to Kawasaki.
          Bonifacio provides some added value in his versatility, speed, etc.

          Plus I don’t think you can complete discount the ‘asset’ management piece since either Bonifacio or Izturis would be lost if they were removed from the 25 man. Mune has options and that’s important because it means he can stay in the organization and recalled when someone (inevitably) gets hurt.

          • For the record, I’d have kept Kawasaki and sent a pitcher down (Perez probably, though he has to clear waivers). I just think that, if you’re committed to the 8 man bullpen, which they are for some reason, then Kawasaki was the position player you needed to move.

          • the obvious decision would have been to try to pass McGowan through waivers…

            the problem is that if all the players perform similarly over the next 200 ABs the blue jays have given away 1-2 wins in the name of keeping a questionable (at best) asset. that is all Ok if you expect to win 78-82 games…. but this team should be expecting to win around 90 games where the value of that marginal win is enormous.

            • Granted. but you can’t say with certainty that the next 200 PAs WILL be similar. In fact there’s much more evidence (the careers these guys have had so far) that says otherwise.

              Anyway, we’ll never know what might have happened if a different decision was made. It is what it is now.

              Let’s just remember that JOSE REYES IS FUCKING AWESOME.

  32. yeah – sure. its baseball you can never predict the future with certainty.

    i’d caution against relying too heavily on mlb track record… Kawasaki has a grand total of 400 mlb PAs… still a pretty small sample. maybe what he has done so far in 2013 is a pretty good representation of what he is as a mlb player.

  33. Maybe he can help fix Romero in buffalo ?

  34. I think it’s a no-brainer that Kawasaki will be a September call-up. It would surprise me if he’s not here for the stretch drive.

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