Welcome to the Winter Meetings
Welcome to Lake Buena Vista, Fla. where the Braves pitchers and catchers have reported to manager Fredi Gonzalez’s first Spring Training. Sorry, that will actually be the intro to my Feb. 14 blog entry. Just wanted to prove that there are times when I don’t procrastinate.
Truth be told, the temperatures here on Disney’s grounds are quite colder than they are when we gather here during Spring Training. But with Jayson Werth going to the Nats, the Red Sox securing Adrian Gonzalez and the Brewers landing Shaun Marcum from the Blue Jays, it’s obvious the Hot Stove is simmering at the start of these Winter Meetings.
While some of you Braves fans are still trying to formulate trades that you think will prove fruitful this summer, I really don’t think Frank Wren is going to do a whole lot of roster tampering over the next few days.
In fact, I won’t be surprised if his current projected roster will be any different than the projected roster he will envision entering Spring Training.
Obviously Wren still wants to move Kenshin Kawakami. This is a move he would have liked to complete more than a month ago. But with Kawakami not wanting to return to Japan, the Braves are limited to finding another Major League organization to show some interest in him.
The talent exchanged in any trade involving Kawakami won’t be as important as the amount of money the other organization is willing to offer the Braves to offset a portion of the $6.67 million owed to Kawakami.
Some Japanese clubs were willing to offer in the neighborhood of $3 million. It seems pretty safe to assume none of the Major League clubs are going to be offering anything more than $1-2 million.
If Kawakami remains in their organization, the Braves seem committed to sending him to Pearl, Mississippi to begin the 2011 season at the Double-A level.
I’m sure there are plenty of nice homes in Pearl. But I’m going to have to guess Kawakami won’t find the same luxuries that existed when he spent the past couple of years living in Lil’ Bow-Wow’s former Gwinnett County mansion in suburban Atlanta.
Still it should once again be noted that Kawakami has every right to remain in the United States and pitch anywhere he wants for at least one more year. He didn’t exactly offer himself the three-year, $23 million contract that was signed before the start of the 2009 season.
Along with attempting to move Kawakami, the Braves will spend the next couple of days and weeks looking to fill some minor roles. If possible they would like to add a left-handed reliever or utility player who could play both the infield and outfield.
But it doesn’t appear Wren sees these potential acquisitions as necessities. He said he would be comfortable heading into the season with Diory Hernandez as Alex Gonzalez’s primary backup. Hernandez has hit .337 with an .850 OPS in 23 games in the Dominican Winter League this year.