Kenshin Kawakami was on the trading block for the entire offseason and Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that the Braves are still trying to deal the Japanese right-hander.
After a solid rookie season Kawakami went 1-10 with a 5.19 ERA last year, but with a 59/32 K/BB ratio in 87 innings his secondary numbers were almost identical to those from his rookie season. In other words, given a fresh start and a spot at the bottom of another team’s rotation, Kawakami is capable of tossing 175 innings with a 4.50 ERA.
Atlanta doesn’t need that even if they hadn’t lost total faith in Kawakami, because Derek Lowe, Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens, and Tommy Hanson fill the first four spots in the rotation and Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy are fighting for the fifth spot, but in order to move Kawakami the Braves will likely have to eat most of his $6.7 million salary and so far at least they haven’t been willing to do that.
He’s better than quite a few fifth starters around baseball.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.
McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).
McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.