A Japanese team has shown a "strong interest" in acquiring Kenshin Kawakami from the Braves, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Bowman writes that a Japanese reporter indicated that the Yomiuri Giants and Nippon Ham Fighters are interested in Kawakami. But there may be an even more attractive Japanese suitor making a play for the Atlanta right-hander.
Kawakami is entering the final season of a three-year, $23MM deal he signed with the Braves prior to the 2009 campaign. The unknown Japanese club interested in Kawakami is reportedly willing to pay Atlanta approximately $3MM of the righty's $6.67MM salary for 2011.
The 35-year-old played for the Chunichi Dragons prior to signing with the Braves. In two big league seasons, he has appeared in 50 games for Atlanta, recording a 4.32 ERA over 243.2 innings. While his ERA ballooned to 5.15 this season, his peripherals (6.1 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9) were nearly identical to his 2009 numbers.