P Kenshin Kawakami
At long last, the Braves have reached an agreement with a pitcher!
Atlanta has reached a deal with former Chunichi Dragons pitcher Kenshin Kawakami. A physical will be conducted in Atlanta and the deal would be finalized next week.
I'm really excited about this signing; I can't wait to see what Kawakami can do over here in the United States. He's said to be a "crafty" veteran pitcher, with a fastball that tops in the low 90s, a slow curve and a good cut fastball.
Kawakami has had a distinguished NPB career:
- Won Rookie of the Year in 1998, going 14-6 with a 2.57 ERA, striking out 124 batters in 161 1/3 innings.
- Put up a career-low 2.35 ERA in 2002.
- Won the Sawamura Award in 2004, the Japanese equivalent of the Cy Young Award, and the Central League MVP. His record was 17-7, and he sported a 3.32 ERA in 192 1/3 innings. He struck out 176 batters.
- Duplicated his 17-7 record in 2006 and finished with a 2.51 ERA and a career-high strikeout total of 194 in 215 innings.
- Was a member of the 2007 Chunichi Dragons team that won the Japan Series, their first such title since 1954.
If Kawakami makes a successful transition to Major League Baseball, the Braves will have a crucial piece to improving the performance (and image) of their club. It's a calculated risk that I'm glad the Braves were willing to take. Welcome to the Braves, Kawakami-san!
SIGNING GRADE: B
The grade takes the risk factor into account. I believe it's that significant.
EDIT: Added my opinion and grade.
SECOND EDIT: Made it look like the rest of my posts.