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