Originally posted on Seattle Times  |  Last updated 12/1/11
Last night, Japanese shortstop Munenori Kawasaki of the champion Softbank Hawks announced at a press conference that he was becoming a free agent. Then, in an interesting twist, he told Japanese media that he wants to play in the major leagues, but only for the Mariners so he could team with Ichiro. Not everyday the Mariners are flat out handed a free agent with zero competition. Especially one from Japan who won't require a posting fee. But would the Mariners want him? I phoned GM Jack Zduriencik shortly after Kawasaki's announcement to gauge where he's at on this. Zduriencik told me he hasn't had any conversations with Kawasaki's camp, mainly because he only became a free agent last night. But Zduriencik did say that he's "aware" of Kawasaki and will proceed accordingly with him as he would any free agent in search of the backup shortstop he's looking for to slot in behind Brendan Ryan. "We are aware of all the opportunities out there, both internationally and back here,'' he said. "We're
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