Japanese Team Interested In Kawakami

The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks are exploring their options regarding Kenshin Kawakami, according to reports passed along by Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times (on Twitter). Last month it appeared that the Yomiuri Giants and Nippon Ham Fighters had interest in the right-hander, but that was before the Braves demoted him to the minor leagues.

Braves GM Frank Wren said this weekend that he has had "a number of discussions" about the right-hander's future. Last month it seemed possible that the Braves could get a Japanese team to pay as much as $3MM of Kawakami's $6.67MM salary. 

The 35-year-old lost his rotation spot last year and even spent some time in the minor leagues. His ERA rose from 3.86 to 5.15, though he posted similar strikeout (6.1 K/9) and walk (3.3 BB/9) ratios to the ones he had in his 2009 rookie season. 


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40 Comments on "Japanese Team Interested In Kawakami"


Brandon Woodworth
4 years 8 months ago

Please… just take him. We need the money for Upton/Uggla/Any offensive RH bad avaliable!

ATL_Mindset
4 years 8 months ago

Wonder if they’d be interested in a CF as well….

Yucavich
4 years 8 months ago

I knew Thanksgiving was around the corner!

safari_punch
4 years 8 months ago

The poor Braves.

This may have cost them a deal. The Japanese don’t want it to look like they are getting a bum – which is what the Braves have tried to make Kawakami into by sending him to AA.

csg
4 years 8 months ago

poor braves? explain…KK wasnt going to be in the 2011 rotation and he’s not a reliever. Braves have no alternatives except to trade him and pay for some of the salary. It doesnt cost them a deal at all

safari_punch
4 years 8 months ago

You’re looking at things from an American point of view. In Japan it’s all about face and perception. If the Braves are going to demote Kawakami to AA, it makes him look inferior, which could reflect poorly on the Japanese team and the league as a whole.

What I’m saying essentially is that it may cost the Braves money as a team may offer LESS now that there is a perception that he is not a MLB player.

4 years 8 months ago

How would that make them look any less inferior than buying failed prospects like Matt Murton, Colby Lewis, and Chris Resop on a consistent basis?

safari_punch
4 years 8 months ago

I would say it’s different because the American players in question were unknown and weren’t really given a chance to prove their full worth, where the Japanese players were put in prominent roles and imploded.

4 years 8 months ago

His talent level and production haven’t changed because he was sent to AA. He’s still the same player, we just wanted room on our 40-man roster and to see if any ML team would claim him. Sending him to AA hasn’t changed anything.

safari_punch
4 years 8 months ago

Yeah, that worked out great for Kei Igawa too didn’t it? The Japanese teams are tripping over themselves to get that guy back into the fold.

4 years 8 months ago

Yeah, the only thing you’re missing is that there’s teams actually talking to the Braves about acquiring Kawakami. It says it in the article we’re posting under. The one I’m assuming you read.

safari_punch
4 years 8 months ago

Right.

The article also says, “Last month it appeared that the Yomiuri Giants and Nippon Ham Fighters had interest in the right-hander, but that was before the Braves demoted him to the minor leagues.”

4 years 8 months ago

I think you’re reading too much into what BNS wrote (no disrespect mean, obviously). Nowhere does it say that his demotion affects his value, and certainly not in the article linked, at least not via translation.

safari_punch
4 years 8 months ago

I could be reading too much into it, but then again, I don’t see guys like Igawa being welcomed back once they were sent to the minors.

bbxxj
4 years 8 months ago

The move to AA was only a roster move to clear up space on the 40 man, not that they were actually planning on sending him to AA to pitch. By sending him through waivers to AA they had only two good outcomes: someone claims him and his salary or he makes it through waivers and doesn’t take up a 40 man spot for the rule five draft or other additions.

This wasn’t a ‘demotion’ it was a ‘roster shuffle’ and all the guys in MLB and NPB front offices know that.

safari_punch
4 years 8 months ago

Management may know that, but it may cost the Braves money in doing such a move. All of a sudden you are saying that this player is even less of an asset by removing him from the team.

It puts a taint on Kawakami to essentially say he is minor league and not major league material.

Maverick60
4 years 8 months ago

He pitched maybe twice after he lost his starting job. Everyone knew at that point that he wasnt major league material. Youre making way to much out of this roster move. No one made a deal for him while he was on the 40 man, so it wasnt that great of a selling point.

patburn
4 years 8 months ago

Lets go Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, take the hit and pay for KK

worship1
4 years 8 months ago

This will get done quick. The braves are going to unload him soon because they hope to get a deal on Uggla or Rasmus. They need to know how much money they have to play with before the meetings start tuesday and wed.

4 years 8 months ago

A deal for Rasmus has nothing to do with the Braves’ 2011 payroll (and won’t happen anyway).

BravesRed
4 years 8 months ago

Not likely. Rasmus isn’t even arbitration eligible yet. Uggla would cost about $10 million, so Braves could add him, plus other.

ATL_Mindset
4 years 8 months ago

I don’t see Rasmus happening unless we move Freeman (or Heyward/McCann, HA!). We could pursue a trade with a third team looking for a first basemen but why would we fill one hole (not even our most glaring hole) by creating another?

BravesRed
4 years 8 months ago

I wasn’t making a reference about Braves acquiring Rasmus. I just made a statement that no team would have to clear payroll to acquire him.

ATL_Mindset
4 years 8 months ago

=^] My statement was more of a “reply all” directed towards ‘worship’ than to you. My board-etiquette isn’t all that great

BravesRed
4 years 8 months ago

Okay.

4 years 8 months ago

If they get this done, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks will be my new favorite Japanese team.

4 years 8 months ago

Hopefully this move works out. Kenshin Kawakami seems like a pretty nice guy and he has stated that he grew up a Braves fan and his favorite player was Greg Maddux. The Braves haven’t handled this situation all that well, but letting Kawakami go back to Japan is the best for both parties.

nietzschesass
4 years 8 months ago

How is it possible for a Japanese team to buy his contract? The buying team has to honor his current contract. I am not just about money but also the comprehensible agreement between the Players Association and the MLB under which his current contract was made. How can that be honored if he plays in a different country?

roberty
4 years 8 months ago

Kawakami would have to provide his consent for the transaction to take place.

nietzschesass
4 years 8 months ago

Even if he does, the Players Association may not. That’s what I am talking about.

roberty
4 years 8 months ago

I think the players association would only be concerned if they tried to change the terms of his contract. As long as Kawakami is paid his full salary in 2011 I don’t think they will have a problem.

jonathan180iq
4 years 8 months ago

I always liked Kenshin. Never understood the blackballing to get him off the mound. His overall numbers were good, he just didn’t go very deep into games. The Braves knew going in that he wasn’t used to pitching every 5 days and they knew the cultural differences. There must be something going on at a personal level that we don’t know about. I think he’s on someone’s crap list.

roberty
4 years 8 months ago

I think the problem was that he was incapable of actually winning baseball games. He coughed up almost every lead he got in 2010.

jonathan180iq
4 years 8 months ago

I don’t know if that’s right. Over his first 4 starts, all losses, we scored a total of 5 runs. When you are a 6 inning pitcher who allows 3-4 runs per game, you aren’t going to win those ballgames. (Many many pitchers in the MLB are 6 inning guys with 4.5 ERAs and they long careers.)

He pitched very well from May 19th – June 26th, the bulk of his season and really got nothing to show for it. Posted a 3.45 ERA w/ 6.8kp9 and was rewarded with demotion and bullpen embarassment.

tomahawknation
4 years 8 months ago

That demotion though was due to the fact that we had an overcrowded rotation. Kawakami was just the one with the glaringly ugly stat line…1-10. You’re right he didnt pitch well but the moments when he was needed to perform he couldn’t (holding ballgames). Therefore with the rise of Kris Medlen he was the odd man out.

There is no denying the fact that the Braves couldn’t hit.

4 years 8 months ago

A more accurate statement would be that the Atlanta Braves were incapable of winning baseball games in which Kenshin Kawakami was the starting pitcher. He pitched, for all intents and purposes, exactly the same as he did last season when everybody was nicknaming him “The Dragon Killer.”You can say that the reason he won those games was because the team played so well behind him. But if you want to do that then you also have to acknowledge that the reason he “lost” so many games this season was because the team played so terrible behind him, because his stats are nearly identical.This whole situation is just an egregious error on the part of the Braves FO. Unless KK was hitting Wren’s wife or something on the side, there was absolutely no reason for him to be treated the way he has been by this organization. If anybody deserved to be demoted, it was the rest of the team for not showing up whenever KK was on the mound.

There’s a piece over at Fangraphs about Kawakami that can basically be summarized by the title: Kawakami deserves an MLB spot.

roberty
4 years 8 months ago

Well, the Braves have five starters who are better than him. So although he might deserve a rotation spot somewhere, it isn’t in Atlanta. I watched almost every start Kawakami made in 2010 and they were painful. He never got ahead in the count, he wandered around the mound for 20 seconds between every pitch, he walked tons of terrible batters — forcing him to pitch to good batters….He made tons of mistakes that make it very hard to win ballgames. Stats only tell part of the story, and this is a situation where you have to look at more than raw statistics. Sure, he isn’t the worst pitcher in baseball, but he was the worst pitcher on the Braves when they had six starters to fill five slots in the rotation, KK was the obvious odd man out. Medlen and Kawakami were basically opposites this year, as the Braves won almost every start Medlen made. It’s hard to take the ball away from a guy like that.

braves808
4 years 8 months ago

Please don’t give us anymore updates about ‘multiple teams interested in Kawakami.’ The only time i want to read about this guy is when he actually is shipped back to Japan!

garlick
4 years 8 months ago

If it’s announced that he’s outrighted, and was assigned, that means he didn’t decline the assignment, so it doesn’t matter.

NL_East_Rivalry
4 years 8 months ago

He would become a free agent and forfeit his payment. If we dropped him from the team, we would still have to pay him.