Kenshin Kawakami is headed back to Japan

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Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along reports from Japan that Kenshin Kawakami has agreed to a deal with the Chunichi Dragons following a disappointing three-year stretch with the Braves.

Kawakami inked a $23 million contract with Atlanta in 2009 and had a solid rookie season for the Braves, tossing 156 innings with a 3.86 ERA and 105/57 K/BB ratio.

Then he began 2010 by going 1-10 with a 5.15 ERA and the Braves demoted him to the minors, never to be seen again. Kawakami didn’t pitch as terribly as those numbers would suggest, but he totally collapsed last season with an 8.41 ERA at Double-A.

Kakakami is 36 years old now, but he was a star in Japan before joining the Braves, going 112-72 with a 3.22 ERA in nine seasons while winning Rookie of the Year and MVP awards.

The Giants are interested in Evan Longoria

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that the San Francisco Giants “have keen interest” in Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.

Longoria is coming off his worst season as a major leaguer, having hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 homers in 2017. He’s also still owed $86 million through 2022. Which, back when the deal was signed seemed like quite a bargain for the Rays — and likely has been over the duration of the contract — but now seems somewhat steep for the 32 year-old third baseman. That said, the Giants currently have Pablo Sandoval penciled in at third base on their depth chart, so Longoria would definitely be an upgrade, even if 2017’s dip wasn’t just a blip.

Nightengale says that for the Giants to take on Longoria, the Rays would have to take on a high salary veteran such as Denard Span or Hunter Pence. Span is owed $9 million in 2018, with a $4 million buyout on a $12 million option for 2019. Pence is owed $18.5 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract and has a full no-trade clause.

If he stays with the Rays, Longoria will achieve 10-5 rights — full no-trade protection due to being a ten-year veteran with five years of service on the same club — so if the Rays are going to move him, it’ll be much easier this offseason, not once the 2018 season begins.