Blog Entry

Japanese teams interested in Kawakami

Posted on: November 15, 2010 10:53 am
Kenshin Kawakami The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks are interested in demoted Braves right-hander Kenshin Kawakami, Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times reports (via Twitter , passing on a Japanese article).

Kawakami, due $6.67 million in 2011, cleared waivers and was outright to Double-A Mississippi. Braves general manager Frank Wren has said he'd like to find a team to take a chunk of his salary and noted several Japanese teams have shown interest in Kawakami, 34.

According to's Mark Bowman , the Yomiuri Giants and Nippon Ham Fighters have shown interest in Kawakami, but wrote "another unidentified Japanese team provided the Braves reason to believe they would be willing to assumer more of the $6.67 million figure than the other two clubs." That could be the Hawks.

Kawakami pitched for Chunichi of Japan's Central League from 1998-2008, where he won the MVP and the Eijii Sawamura Award (the equivalent of the Cy Young Award) in 2004.

Kawakami has gone 8-22 with a 4.32 ERA in two seasons with the Braves, including 1-10 with a  5.15 ERA last season.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Since: Nov 9, 2006
Posted on: November 15, 2010 5:54 pm

Japanese teams interested in Kawakami

Many of the Japanese players make an impact for a couple of years - but two things happen.  One - the league gets used to the players, and two - the players are hitting the "twilight" of their careers.  These Japanese players have already played 9 years in their major leagues to qualify for international free agency.  Think of Japan as a AAAA baseball.  Teams are willing to spend millions because they haven't had to invest in the player through the amatuer draft (where the players earn millions - and many never even make the bigs)and there is less risk because they have proven they can play at a very high level.  If you think about it - there are a ton of great AAA players that never make it to their "potential" ... i.e. Brandon Wood, Chris Iannetta last year.  There will always be big interest in finding the "next big thing" - because teams pay to win.  It would be great if we could see some of these players in their prime in the U.S.  We see so many good foreign players at the World Baseball Classic from Japan while they are in their prime - it would provide a better product if we had truly the best players in the world.

I anticipate big money getting dropped to get the rights to Yu Darvish when he becomes available in 2014! 

Since: May 5, 2010
Posted on: November 15, 2010 4:52 pm

Japanese teams interested in Kawakami

Japanese players in general are overrated! Big league teams continue to dump millions of dollars on players who never pan out. Sure you have Ichiro and Matsui, but you have a lot of busts like Irabu and Nomo. See link:

Since: Mar 27, 2007
Posted on: November 15, 2010 1:52 pm

Japanese teams interested in Kawakami

As a Braves fan, I won't exactly be sorry to see Kawakami gone.  That said, he did pitch well for the Braves in 2009 and beat several aces from other teams (notably Roy Halladay).  In 2010, he was pretty bad although he probably pitched a little better than he was given credit for early in the season.  He received very low run support as well.  Hopefully a return to the Japanese league willl be just what the doctor ordered for Kawakami to get his career back on track.  I appreciated his attitude as presented by the Atlanta media that Kawakami wanted to pitch but understood the reasons for being left out of the rotation.  Best of luck to him as he continues his career elsewhere.

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