The Atlanta Braves have a lot of starting pitching ... maybe too much. (Is there such a thing?) We all know that the team has been trying to get rid of Kenshin Kawakami for the past six months -- to any team that will take him. Braves beat writer Mark Bowman confirmed yesterday that the team is still trying to unload the Japanese hurler:
The Braves are still hoping he draws interest from another club willing to trade for him and pay a respectable portion of the $6.77 million he is owed this year.
Now early this afternoon we get some speculation from Buster Olney of ESPN that the Braves are also possibly attempting to trade another one of their starters:
Heard this: The Braves looking to make a deal involving Rodrigo Lopez, who is on a minor league deal.
No word if trading Lopez would be in addition to trading Kawakami, or if trading Lopez would then lead them to keep Kawakami (possibly in the minors). Certainly one of the big motivating factors in wanting to trade Kawakami is to unload a large portion of his salary. That problem does not exist for the Braves with Lopez, as he is on a minor league deal.
Dealing both, while neither is very good, would significantly deplete the Braves starting pitching depth in the minors. Depending on who wins the fifth starter job, Brandon Beachy or Mike Minor, the other pitcher will serve as reserve depth at triple-A Gwinnett. After him though, no other minor league starter in the Braves system has Major League experience. The depth chart would likely pass to Todd Redmond after Beachy or Minor.
Another, possibly significant piece of depth, could be Scott Diamond, depending on whether the Twins want to keep him in their organization or if they send him back to Atlanta. Diamond has thrown six innings this spring, while allowing six hits, one run, and issuing six walks. Diamond is pitching today for the Twins (as well as former Braves lefty Chuck James, who is in camp with Minnesota).