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Braves send Kenshin Kawakami and his $6.7 million salary to Double-A

Mar 30, 2011, 1:47 PM EDT

Kawakami  throwing

How far out of favor has Kenshin Kawakami fallen in Atlanta? Well, yesterday the Braves demoted him to Double-A, where he’ll earn $6.7 million while pitching against hitters a dozen years his junior.

David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution writes that they sent Kawakami all the way down to Double-A because “they want to keep the Triple-A rotation open to pitchers who could have an impact in Atlanta this season.”

I understand souring on a player and Kawakami certainly hasn’t been very impressive since coming over from Japan, but the lengths the Braves are going to banish a pitcher with a 4.32 career ERA seems odd. They dumped him from the rotation in the middle of last season and have spent the past six months unsuccessfully trying to unload his contract, but that doesn’t make Kawakami a useless player.

He’d be a perfectly decent fourth or fifth starter on any number of teams and could come in handy for the Braves at some point this season if they weren’t so hellbent on completely erasing him from their plans. His win-loss record is ugly, but Kawakami’s secondary numbers and 4.32 ERA show a pitcher good enough to contribute to a big-league staff. And now he’s a 35-year-old riding buses in Double-A.

  1. nps6724 - Mar 30, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    He may be a perfectly decent 4th or 5th starter for OTHER teams, but he is the 8th-best starter Atlanta has. It will take at least 3 injuries to starters for Kawakami to get back to Atlanta, whether he’s in AA or AAA.

    Also, I don’t know who said this, but I have read the Braves wanted to get him out of his Atlanta mansion (AAA Gwinnett is an hour outside of Atlanta) to entice him to help facilitate a trade. Putting him in AA and keeping him away from home could do it.

  2. jwbiii - Mar 30, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    they sent Kawakami all the way down to Double-A because “they want to keep
    him further away than a cab ride from Turner Field in case they are even tempted to call him up.

  3. lanflfan - Mar 30, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    Ouch. Why not just release him, you are effectively doing that anyway, and if you believe he has nothing to offer then let him go.

    • nps6724 - Mar 30, 2011 at 2:15 PM

      In hopes a team suffers an injury and needs someone to take a spot. A low-level prospect and/or $1 million in return is better than nothing.

    • phukyouk - Mar 30, 2011 at 2:28 PM

      the Yanks are paying Iguana 10 Mil a yr to pitch in AAA only with no chance of ever being called up again. im just sayin…..

      • banksatdixie - Mar 30, 2011 at 2:46 PM

        No, they’re paying him $4MM this year. Of course they did pay $26MM for his posting fee. Brilliant knee-jerk reaction!

      • phukyouk - Mar 30, 2011 at 3:01 PM

        total spent on him was 41M over a 4yr period. dont know exactly how it breaks down but on avg its 10M.

      • paperlions - Mar 30, 2011 at 6:18 PM

        Yeah, but you said that they “are paying” him $10MM/year. They aren’t they paid his team a posting fee. He is getting paid $4MM/year to pitch in AAA.

  4. garryfish - Mar 30, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    …are you sayin trade?!?!?!? Could be better than Millwood

  5. BC - Mar 30, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    What are they doing? Everyone knows wins don’t matter!
    (OK, that one’s getting old too….)

  6. guileless22 - Mar 30, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    Welcome to Pearl, Miss. Mr, Kawakami.

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