Hat tip to the ever vigilant Mr. Walton for this one:

The Japan Times says that Kenshin Kawakami has narrowed his options to the Orioles, Cardinals and Twins.  Ooh! Ooh! Pick B! Pick B! Sean (Chone) Smith ran projections on the incoming NPB pitchers and Kawakami’s are pretty darn good.

  • 122 IP – 125 hits – 15 HR- 32 BB- 105 K – 4.13 ERA – 3.86 FIP - 2.1 WAR (Forgive me for my ingorance of code.)

Put him in Busch III with the steady Cardinal defense behind him and he should be able to post some solid numbers. Before you write off the notion of projecting Japanese league players, Chone did quite well projecting Hiroki Kuroda’s rookie season-

2008 Kuroda:

  • CHONE: 179 IP – 181 H – 20 HR – 49 BB – 125 K – ERA 3.97 
  • Actual: 183.1  IP- 181 H – 13 HR -42 BB – 116 K ERA 3.73

Unless the Orioles make a big offer which Kawakami can’t refuse, I can’t see him going anywhere else but St. Louis. Minnesota doesn’t need him with their rotation, and we know they don’t spend in free agency. We’ll see how this all plays out. In my view, Kawakami represents the best available arm on the B list of free agent starting pitchers. That B list includes Randy Wolf, Jon Garland, Oliver Perez and our old pal Braden Looper. If Kawakami can manage throw 180-190 innings, he could be 2.8 WAR pitcher.

Erik Manning

Erik became addicted to Cardinals baseball as a young lad growing up on the mean streets of O'Fallon, MO. He moved away to Tulsa to attend Bible College, where he met his wife, who talked him into moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also known as the Bermuda triangle of baseball. His dream is to see the MLB.tv blackouts end, and his other interests are theology and philosophy of religion. He is the parent of two young boys.

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7 Responses to “Cards a finalist for Kawakami”

  1. Note that the report about the Orioles making a final offer has been debunked. The two sides are still in negotiations.

  2. @NPB. Sorry about that; chalk that one up to selective reading, or something. Error fixed.

  3. Wow, this is interesting. I live in Minnesota and the Twins can always be outbid so I think we’ve got a good shot. I also think that our FO (as well as the Twins very good FO) would have researched the risk/benefit factors on this guy quite well. Could be a very good free agent acquisition that doesn’t cost us a draft choice. Does anybody know anything about Japanese pitchers in terms of how they hold up going into their mid thirties? Just wondered if there are any differences in pitching style, preparation, physical makeup or whatever that would make a difference either way.

  4. Excuse my ignorance here but how does one project to have a FIP that is different than ERA? Is the predictor simply predicting that you will have good or bad luck or are there pitchers that can be predicted to consistently have greater or lesser FIP’s than their ERA’s?

  5. Excuse my ignorance but I’m not sure I have an answer for that. Hmmm… I’ll look into that.

  6. Looking at the video posted over at Brian’s site, Kawakami only topped out at 145 km/h (which is about 90 mph). He sat around 140-143 more though which is about 86-88 mph. From the video, it looks like he throws a cutter or some sort of sinking fastball (maybe both, it’s hard to tell) so he would seem to fit in with Dunc. The curve looks much like Carpenter’s big 12/6 curveball. I wonder how accurate those guns are. It would make me feel a little better if he threw harder, but I would like to see the Cards go after him. I’d prefer Sheets, but Sheets comes with injury questions and the Cards look like they want to stay away from that mess. Plus, signing Sheets means losing a draft pick and since we didn’t make the best decisions with our arbitration offers, we don’t really have the luxury of not worrying about losing a first round pick.

  7. I just want some pitching to fill in for Carpenter and replace Pinero.

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