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Rays Apparently Interested in SP Kenshin Kawakami

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May as well document the first rumor of this post-season and give us something else to talk about during the break.

Hat tip to user JoeDobr for finding this tidbit in Sports Nippon, via Boston.com.

Kenshin Kawakami, a 33-year-old righthanded pitcher, is most likely going to make a jump to the major leagues for the 2009 season as a free agent. Sports Nippon is reporting that the Rays are one of the teams that is interested in his services. As an ace of the Chunichi Dragons, he went 9-5 with 2.30 ERA last season and also pitched in the Beijing Olympics for the Japanese team. His career record is 112-72 with 3.22 ERA in 257 games during his 11 seasons with the Dragons and he was a major contributor when the Dragons won Japan Series in 2007. Kawakami's best pitch is cut-fastball and is comparable to Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers.

Scouting Book on Kawakami:

Kawakami is a smart, creative pitcher who is known for finding ways to get even the toughest hitters out in big situations. His heavy fastball and assortment of off-speed pitches makes him a ground-ball specialist, which should draw interest from teams in the USA's smaller ballparks. His curve is especially knee-buckling

Looking at his numbers, it appears Kawakami has good-great control (or at least a good K/BB ratio) and gives up a moderate amount of homeruns. Here's a very, very rough look at what his FIPs would be, keep in mind I used a generic constant (3.2) and did not league or park adjust, so these numbers are extremely, extremely, extremely rough.

 

Year FIP
1998 3.77
1999 4.38
2000 5.60
2001 3.35
2002 3.18
2003 3.14
2004 3.82
2005 3.58
2006 3.23
2007 3.35

Do note:Kawakami is a free agent, and there will be no posting fee required.