Pirates Have Some Interest in Kawakami
Jennifer Langosch reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates have shown some interest in Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kenshin Kawakami. The Braves owe Kawakami one year and $6.667 M on his three year deal, and are expected to pick up all but $1-2 M of his salary, while not wanting much in return.
Kawakami had a strong debut in the US in 2009, with a 3.86 ERA in 156.1 innings, along with a 6.0 K/9 and a 3.3 BB/9 ratio. He was a bit lucky with a low BABIP and HR/FB ratio, along with a slightly higher strand rate. His xFIP was 4.61, which was worse than his ERA. In 2010 he went the other direction, posting a 5.15 ERA in 87.1 innings, with similar walk and strikeout ratios. This time around his BABIP and strand rate were unlucky, and his xFIP was 4.56.
If the cost was only $1-2 M, with no big return going the other way, then Kawakami would be a good, low-risk option for the back of the rotation.