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MLB Winter Meetings: Braves Still Working On Kenshin Kawakami Trade, Lose Scott Diamond In Rule 5 Draft

The final day of the MLB Winter Meetings is underway, and perhaps the biggest news came last night in the form of a seven-year deal worth $142 million to Carl Crawford. We now have a new pick for richest outfielder in baseball.

The Braves and Pirates are still working on a trade that will send Kenshin Kawakami to Pittsburgh, according to Rob Biertempfel. He tweets that money is one issue, as well as if/when Paul Maholm is dealt. The Braves almost have a sense of urgency in trading Kawakami, so they may have to bend a little to get him off the roster. The Pirates are probably sensing this as well.

The Braves did not take a player in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft today, but they did lose a player. Pitcher Scott Diamond was selected by the Twins. Diamond is a 24-year-old lefty out of Canada who was an undrafted free agent by the Braves. He has risen through the ranks with ERAs not reaching higher than 3.52 at any level. After a full season at AA in 2009, in which he had a 3.50 ERA in 131 innings, he returned to AA in 2010 and made 17 starts, posting a 3.52 ERA with a K/9 of 7.92 and BB/9 of 3.43. He finished at AAA with 10 starts, posting a 3.36 ERA with 33 strikeouts and 15 walks in 56 innings.

Diamond has nothing that will wow you, but he throws strikes and gets a grounder or two. He may stick in the bullpen as a long reliever while getting a few starts in 2011, so there is a chance he stays with Minnesota. However, his ceiling is no higher than back of the rotation.

In the Minor League portion of the Rule 5 Draft, the Braves selected Eliecer Cardenas from the Twins and Rowdy Hardy from the Royals, both pitchers. Cardenas made his full-season debut in 2010 at A-ball, posting a 3.69 ERA in 63 innings. He walked 44 and struck out 53, so obviously he has a ways to go with control. The 22-year-old righty is said to have a "live arm" and good movement. Hardy is a 28-year-old left-handed reliever who has yet to reach AAA. He had a 3.44 ERA in 81 innings in AA last season, including 57 strikeouts to only 18 walks. He has extremely low strikeout rates, but he also does not walk batters, and that is probably due to the fact that he cannot throw over 82 MPH. Check out this article by Joe Posnanski on Hardy back in 2007.

If you were not getting enough humor out of the Royals' offseason, they are quick to supply you with more, as they are close to signing former Brave Melky Cabrera. The deal is said to be worth $1.25 million over one year, plus $250,000 in incentives. Why they do not just give the job to Gregor Blanco is beyond me.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.