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Braves Interested in Kawakami

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With A.J Burnett out of the picture, Frank Wren seems to have set his sights a little further east to try and fill out Atlanta's rotation. According to Dave O'Brien of the AJC, the Braves are one of the teams interested in 33-year old Japanese starter Kenshin Kawakami. The right-hander is a free agent (no posting fee) and is expected to sign with an MLB team. Here's a scouting report from NPB Tracker:

"Kawakami isn't overpowering; his fastball tops out in the low 90's. His control is good, though not quite as awe-inspiring as Koji Uehara's. And his windup isn't deceptive, like many Japanese pitchers. Kawakami gets by purely on quality stuff.

Kawakami's featured pitch is a cut fastball, which, according to Wikipedia, is known as Japan's finest among visiting MLB All-Stars. He also has a slow curve, which he throws at 65-70 MPH. The rest of his arsenal is fairly typical: fastball, shuuto, fork. He changes speeds pretty well, particularly between his curve and harder stuff."

The Red Sox are expected to make a 3-year $21 million offer to Kawakami, so the Braves would have to beat that. While he's not an ace, Kawakami seems like a fairly low risk, decent upside move.

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