News has broken this morning that the Braves have outrighted pitcher Kenshin Kawakami to AA Mississippi. What exactly does this mean? First off, it means that he passed through waivers without a team claming him. That is extremely depressing, because if a team claimed him, they'd be on the hook for his entire $6.67 million salary in 2011. As is, the Braves are still responsible for that salary until/unless he gets traded, and even then, the team will probably still be forced to cover some of his salary.
But there is some good news to go along with this. Kawakami is now not on the Braves 40-man roster, which makes the odds of him being invited to spring training (again, assuming he doesn't get traded) extremely low. The Braves wouldn't remove him from the 40-man only to put him back on in March. If he's still a member of the organization once the season begins, he'll probably be pitching in the minors.
What should the Braves do? The correct answer is "anything", just to get him out of the organization. Whatever offer Frank Wren can get, he needs to take. Kawakami has no place on the roster, with 6 starting pitchers already (Jair Jurrjens, Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Derek Lowe, Mike Minor, and Brandon Beachy, not to mention the injured Kris Medlen). Kawakami is not suited for the bullpen, as you saw after the All-Star break this season, with Bobby Cox never using Kawakami in relief.
Its time to end this experiment. It didn't go well at all. But you live and learn, and I can't blame Frank Wren for making the move in the first place, considering the team's starting pitching situation after the 2008 season. Its amazing what 2 years can do for a franchise, right?