Kawakami outrighted to Mississippi
There is little reason to believe Kenshin Kawakami will be a part of the Braves rotation next year. But the Japanese hurler continues to provide a burden to the clubs payroll as general manager Frank Wren attempts to determine how much money he has to satisfy offseason needs.
Wren’s attempts to trade Kawakami or sell him to a Japanese club have so far proven to be unsuccessful. But the Braves have removed the 34-year-old hurler from their 40-man roster.
Kawakami passed through waivers and was sent outright to the Double-A Mississippi roster. He has gone 8-22 with a 4.32 ERA in 50 appearances (41 starts) since signing a three-year, $23 million contract with the Braves before the start of the 2009 season.
The Braves still owe Kawakami $6.67 million heading into the final year of this contract.
The Yomiuri Giants and Nippon Ham Fighters are among the Japanese clubs that are believed to have shown interest in Kawakami. But another unidentified Japanese team provided the Braves reason to believe they would be willing to assume more of the $6.67 million figure than those two teams.
Kawakami has revealed that he does not like pitching in the Tokyo Dome, which serves as the home for the Yomuri Giants. But if he remains with the Braves, he might have to find a liking to pitch in Minor League ballparks.
After Kawakami went 1-9 with a 4.48 ERA in his first 15 starts this year, the Braves put him in their bullpen and provided him just a one-inning relief appearance before optioning him to Triple-A Gwinnett in August.
Given a chance to make an emergency start in place of an injured Derek Lowe on Sept. 3, Kawakami allowed the Marlins five earned runs and issued four walks in a 73-pitch, three-inning effort. He would pitch just one more inning of relief before the season concluded.
Instead of allowing Kawakami to pitch in place of an injured Jair Jurrjens, the Braves gave Brandon Beachy three starts during the regular season’s final two weeks. Beachy, who was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2008, had made a total of 21 Minor League starts before being thrust into the thick of a pennant race.
When the Braves traveled to San Francisco to begin their National League Division Series, they did not include Kawakami in their traveling party. Once the regular season was complete, they told him he was free to return to his native Japan.