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Meet Your 2012 Seattle Mariners: Munenori Kawasaki

Infielder Munenori Kawasaki #61

30 years old; Experience: rookie (of the Japanese sorts)

The Seattle Mariners are like the New York Yankees of Japanese players - or at least they are for Munenori Kawasaki, who signed a minor league contract with the Mariners because he wanted to play here so bad. Or at least that is what will have to come off it. Most likely he signed with the Mariners because the only other teams who would take slap hitting speedy infielders with no power are the Oakland Athletics and soon to be AL West cellar buddies the Houston Astros.

As such, signing Kawasaki was pretty much a no brainer for the M's. He was a solid player in Japan, a lifetime .297 hitter who was best known for his glove and his speed. To the Mariners he brings someone who can spell Brendan Ryan at short when he inevitably injures himself and won't be a huge detriment at the plate - theoretically.

There isn't a whole lot else to Kawasaki's presence on the Seattle Mariners other than maybe some new Japanese fans who just hated Ichrio for no reason but love Munenori Kawasaki might buy a Seattle Mariners cap now. He isn't projected to do much else than hit decently and potentially steal a few bases if he gets on base. The one drawback that Kawasaki does have is he is a quantity over quality base stealer, and gets caught far too often for someone of his speed. Hopefully his frightening diminutive nature will take opposing pitchers by surprise and Kawasaki can provide more infield singles if Ichrio starts to let fans down with those exciting hits.