Braves may trade Kenshin Kawakami back to Japan

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It looks like the Braves may cut ties this winter with one of their 2010 season-opening starters.

According to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, a Japanese club has expressed interest in acquiring right-hander Kenshin Kawakami from Atlanta and may be willing to eat around $3 million of the $6.67 million that remaining on his contract.

If those numbers are correct, Atlanta should pull the trigger now.

Kawakami, 35, turned in a disappointing 5.15 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and 59/32 K/BB ratio over 87.1 innings this past season, working as both a starter and reliever, and a major improvement doesn’t seem likely in 2011.  Win-loss records don’t mean a whole lot, but it should also be noted that he finished 1-10.

Opening an extra $3 million before the start of the hot stove season would go a long way toward helping Atlanta improve other areas of the ballclub.