Just in case there was any doubt that the Braves have completely given up on Kenshin Kawakami, they dropped him from their 40-man roster today, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com. The Japanese right-hander passed through waivers and was sent outright to Double-A Mississippi.
Kawakami, 35, is 8-22 with a 4.32 ERA in 50 games (41 starts) since signing a three-year, $23 million contract with the Braves prior to the 2009 season. This includes a 5.15 ERA to go along with an ugly 1-10 record this past season. Though Kawakami was removed from the 40-man roster today, he is still owed $6.67 million for next season.
Braves general manager Frank Wren is trying to swing a deal with a major league club, but his best bet may be to find a willing suitor in Japan. Bowman reports that the Yomiuri Giants and Nippon Ham Fighters have contacted the Braves to express their interest. An unidentified third team has indicated to the Braves that they would be willing to pick up more of Kawakami’s salary than either the Giants or the Fighters.
With the Braves trying to set a budget for their offseason, I would expect Wren to find a resolution sooner rather than later.
The Cubs had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.
Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.
Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.
Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.
Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).
Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.