Kenshin Kawakami may be breaking the hearts of Braves fans for years to come if two things do not happen starting this season.Ã‚Â First, Kawakami has to have a big Spring Training, but also, Dan Uggla must play like the star Atlanta paid him to be.Ã‚Â Wait. Huh?Ã‚Â What does an All-Star second baseman from Tennessee have in common with a 1-10 Japanese pitcher, much less have any effect on how is right hander is perceived?Ã‚Â Look closer at the Atlanta Braves organization my friends.Ã‚Â Management is notoriously tight with the purse strings, but Kawakami got 3 years for $23 million. Ã‚Â Then in the off season, the Braves not only snagged Uggla from the Marlins, but they locked him in for 5 years and $62 million.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Both moves were uncharacteristic for the old school organization.
Atlanta has a solid rotation without Kawakami, so he is not pitching to help the Braves on the field, but at the bank.Ã‚Â A good showing would make him more attractive to trade.Ã‚Â Fans should pray hard for a huge Spring Training for the 35 year old righty, then maybe, just maybe, some team will take a second look at Kenshin and his large contract.
That explains why Atlanta should be cheering for KKÃ‚Â in Orlando, but Uggla’s role is long term.Ã‚Â Uggla has to prove his worth, and having a great 2011 season is certainly a start.Ã‚Â What will be difficult is living up to the Braves expectations that justify his contract.Ã‚Â Do not get me wrong, no one is happier than I that Uggla’s agent was able to pry a contract like that out of Atlanta’s clinched fists.Ã‚Â I just hope he can live up to all that comes with the check.Ã‚Â With a team that expects Neiman’s at Wal-Mart, you better deliver gift wrapped Harry Winston for roughly of 173 games a year for the next five years.Ã‚Â (162 regular season, 3 Division Series, 4 League Series, 4 World Series)Ã‚Â I am not suggesting Dan Uggla will be considered a bust if the Atlanta Braves do not win 5 World Championships in 5 years, but there definitely will be added pressure for him to perform.Ã‚Â Do not think for a second that one contract bust does not weigh heavy on in every salary decision, but two may cancel the credit cards and lock the vault!Ã‚Â Get to praying Braves fans!