Munenori Kawasaki became a free agent on Friday when the Toronto Blue Jays declined his option.
From the Toronto Star's Kim Nursall:
... Conflicting reports say Kawasaki could either be brought back by the Jays on a cheaper minor league contract, or he may go back to Japan and sign with a team overseas for a more lucrative deal.
From the National Post's John Lott:
... A fan favourite, Kawasaki might remain in the organization on a minor-league deal. But the Jays could not justify a million-dollar commitment to a backup infielder who has batted .218 with a .306 on-base percentage over a two-year big-league career. He would, however, provide valuable insurance in case of injury, a role he filled in 2013 after shortstop Jose Reyes suffered a severe ankle injury in April.
The Toronto Star's Richard Griffin also tweeted this:
Roster update from #bluejays include refuse option on Kawasaki. Sources say Mune likely back to Japan for $2M and Jays were aware.
The latest on Tsuyoshi Wada and his option:
From the Balitmore Sun's Dan Connolly:
... The Orioles are expected to decline Wada's $5 million option and Casilla's $3 million option – and they must do it before Tuesday. It would be a huge surprise if the options weren't declined.
I'm hearing that an official announcement on Wada should come Saturday. An announcement on Casilla likely will come Monday. There's the end of the intrigue.
From MASNSports' Roch Kubatko:
... It's not Wada's fault that his elbow blew out, and it's not his fault that the club kept him in Sarasota after rosters expanded in September. They didn't want him pitching in important games down the stretch, deeming it unfair to both sides, but the reports on him certainly improved as the year wore on, which leads to the possibility that he stays in the organization.
Wada will be 33 in February, and Japanese pitchers traditionally have a lot of miles on their odometers. In other words, they throw a lot, and it's risky to sign one past the age of 30. But he was 107-61 with a 3.13 ERA and 1,329 strikeouts in 210 career games (207 starts) over nine seasons with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. In his last 52 starts, he went 33-13 with a 2.29 ERA. In his final year, he was 16-5 with a 1.51 ERA and four complete games.
... The Orioles have regarded Wada as strictly a starter, in part because of the amount of time required for him to warm up, but perhaps he could fill the T.J. McFarland role if the former Rule 5 pick enters the rotation here or at Triple-A Norfolk.
I've also heard the counter argument that there's no sense keeping Wada around and reminding ownership of the $8.15 million investment that yielded nothing. Pick up the rest of your chips and move to the next table.
The latest on Hiroki Kuroda:
From The Star-Ledger's Andy McCullough:
... The team is expected to tender qualifying offers to Cano, starter Hiroki Kuroda and outfielder Curtis Granderson. The team must decide to deliver those offers by Monday.
The qualifying offer is a one-year, $14.1 million contract, and none of these three are expected to accept. If the player signs elsewhere, as Rafael Soriano and Nick Swisher did last winter, the Yankees receive a compensatory draft pick.
... Kuroda earned $15 million in 2013, and likely deserves a raise, despite his implosion in September. But general manager Brian Cashman worries about Kuroda leaving for Japan. He could also be lured to pitch for one of the two Los Angeles teams, which are closer to home.
From SBNation's Connor Moylan:
... The Yankees are expected to offer Kuroda a $14.1 million qualifying offer, which would represent a slight pay cut from his $15 million salary in '13. The two sides could renegotiate the deal if the pitcher accepts the offer.
On where Masahiro Tanaka might go if he decides he wants to be posted to the Majors after the season.
From CBS Sports:
Heyman: Yankees. They are said to love him, and not only because the posting fee isn't counted toward the luxury tax. The Cubs will be in there pitching, too.
Knobler: Giants. Yes, the Yankees want him. But so do the Giants, and they'll get him.
Miller: Yankees. Andy Pettitte is retired, CC Sabathia finished the season leaking oil and Phil Hughes has as much chance of returning to the Yanks' rotation as Whitey Ford. Brian Cashman has to find pitching somewhere.