I don't have time to write at the moment, but I will chip in this new information that Sponichi thinks he got a 3-year, $24m deal. I haven't seen the dollar figure anywhere else yet, and Sponichi is writing this in uncertain terms, so we'll see how acurate it turns out to be. More later.
All right, now I have a little time to write...
So to begin, Kawakami's signing is getting a bit more press in the Japanese media. Here's a sampling of articles from Nikkan Sports:
- Braves Manager Bobby Cox Evaluates Kawakami Highly
- Uehara Departs for America in a Red Jacket (photo included)
- The Braves have been in the National League Since it's Establishment in 1876
- Where is Braves Signee Kenshin Kawakami from?
- Kawakami Agrees with Braves, Will Officially Announce Perhaps on the 12th
I didn't read most of those articles, but there are the links. I wonder if Uehara would have made it in if he hadn't worn a red jacket.
The question that I get most frequently on Kawakami is whether his numbers have been inflated by the big stadium he pitched in and the outstanding defense he had behind him. And the answer is, yeah, anyone would. That said, his k and bb rates have been consistent over the years, and better than Kuroda's for the last few seasons. Jim Albright's translations come out favorably as well. I like the move to NL as well, and the Braves seem to do pretty well with their pitchers.
Of course, it will remain to be seen whether his stuff generates as many strikeouts as it did in Japan, whether he can adjust to pitching on four days' rest rather than five, and how he adjusts to a new country, language, and longer distances to travel. Uehara will, of course, have the same challenges.