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.