The Braves are looking to part ways with starter Kenshin Kawakami and, according to one source, the Pirates have shown some interest in the right-hander this offseason. That certainly makes sense, given that the Pirates are searching anywhere and everywhere for starting pitching and that Kawakami is expendable to the Braves.
Kawakami, 35, is set to make $6.667 million in 2011, the final year of a three-year deal he signed with Atlanta. The Braves know that they will have to pick up a significant amount of that salary in order to trade Kawakami, so the cost to acquire him would likely only be $1-2 million. Atlanta is not believed to be seeking any significant player return, either.
AJC beat writer David O'Brien is also reporting that the Athletics are being discussed as a possible destination for Kawakami. If the Braves chose either of those team they would likely have to pick up a significant portion of Kawakami's salary, something they seem willing to do to write any part of it off their books. Any salary relief we receive from a Kawakami deal would likely be used on a utility player or another bullpen pitcher.