Make Or Break Year: Scott Kazmir

50609112710_Mariners at AngelsIt's hard to believe that it's been almost seven years since the infamous Victor Zambrano-for-Scott Kazmir swap. The Mets received just 202 2/3 serviceable innings out of Zambrano (4.42 ERA) while Kazmir was busy establishing himself as one of the game's best young hurlers in Tampa. Before his 24th birthday, the hard-throwing southpaw had 97 big league starts to his credit, and he owned a 3.64 ERA with 9.7 K/9 in the AL East. At 23, he took home the AL strikeout crown with 239 whiffs.

The Rays rewarded Kazmir with a four-year contract extension after that season, but things have gone downhill since. He missed the first month of the 2008 season with an elbow issue, and then battled a quad strain in 2009. With his ERA sitting at 5.92 at the end of August '09, the Rays traded Kazmir and the two years left on his contract to the Angels for three young players.

Although he pitched well after the trade (1.73 ERA in six starts), things really fell apart in 2010. Kazmir hit the disabled list twice for shoulder soreness/fatigue last season, and when he was on the mound he was rarely effective. His velocity had declined considerably and the strikeouts were proving harder to come by. All told, Kazmir pitched to a 5.94 ERA with nearly as many walks (79) as strikeouts (93) in 150 innings last season, and only eight times in 28 starts did he complete six innings of work.

Kazmir's stock is at an all-time low, which is not where you want it to be with free agency coming up after the season. The Halos are unlikely to exercise his $13.5MM option for 2012, and unless he regains his pre-2009 form, Kazmir is in danger of falling into the Jeremy Bonderman category of reclamation free agent starters.

It's not all bad news though. Kazmir will turn just 27 years old tomorrow, and his 39.1% ground ball rate in 2010 was his best in three years. AL East and World Series experience works in his favor, and an offseason of rest could also do wonders for his achy wing. Next winter's crop of free agent pitchers is weak, so Kazmir could parlay a strong 2011 season in a nice contract. A lot has to change for that to happen, though.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


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73 Comments on "Make Or Break Year: Scott Kazmir"


Thurman8er
4 years 7 months ago

Given the horrible decisions the Angels have made this entire off-season, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see them give Kaz an extension. This is a front office that needs to get their head in the game and see when it’s time to cut their losses. Putting your faith in Mike Butcher to get Kazmir back to where he was, just because they used to work well together isn’t going to cut it. He’s hurt. He’s not the same kid. Sad but true. Move on.

cookmeister
4 years 7 months ago

i think you are over-reacting. the Wells deal was bad, but don’t go saying how dumb the FO is and they they could give him an extension, that’s just not-likely. if he pitches well, i could see them resigning him after the season for much less, but that’s it.

Thurman8er
4 years 7 months ago

Sarchasm: the gap between those who aren’t serious and those who don’t get it.

corey23
4 years 7 months ago

what is sarchasm?

from all of us in oakland, keep up the good work kazmir!

cookmeister
4 years 7 months ago

not sure what sarchasm is, but it is apparent that you still have the Wells deal-hangover… i am in no way defending Reagins (i am actually fairly upset about the deal), but this is the same guy that got Teixeira for basically nothing and Dan Haren on a really good deal. If some other desperate/bad deal happens, Reagins has to be gone

Karkat
4 years 7 months ago

Seriously people? It was a pun. Come on, internet.

It’d be more fitting to their previous moves if they traded Kazmir for Barry Zito, though.

East Coast Bias
4 years 7 months ago

I would have used sarkazm. GET IT?!

OCSportsGeek
4 years 7 months ago

I see what you did there…

YanksFanSince78
4 years 7 months ago

Kazmir scares me….a .287 BaBIP and a 5.83 FIP.

He would be worth a try if the Angels literally asked for practically nothing in return but salary relief and paid his buyout of $2.5 mil. That being said…baseballs are very expensive and NYS gives up a lot souvenirs in the 1st half of the year.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 7 months ago

FIP is arguably the most important stat for a pitcher. And I go crazy when I see a 4.75-5.00 FIP. Sheesh.

Pete
4 years 7 months ago

I don’t want to bring up the white elephant in the room, but there is one here, and its probably the cause of Kazmir’s falloff.

NatsTown
4 years 7 months ago

elaborate?

4 years 7 months ago

I think he is very incorrectly trying to say steroids…

YanksFanSince78
4 years 7 months ago

Yeah I agree w/ David. Kaz had lots of success in the testing age. If he were using he would’ve tested positve. If he was using HGH then he should keep at until they come up with a test ’cause he sucks. He should send a few kits to NYS c/o AJ Burnett (cough) I mean… B.K Gillette…..the clubhouse guys will get it to him.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 7 months ago

That was the strangest most indirect thing I’ve ever read on this site.

Ferrariman
4 years 7 months ago

Kazmir has a pet elephant?

Dave_Gershman
4 years 7 months ago

New picture eh? Been a while.

rzepczynski
4 years 7 months ago

not really

Dave_Gershman
4 years 7 months ago

I’ve commented like 5 times this month…from July-December, 3000 comments.

Lunchbox45
4 years 7 months ago

finger injury?

Dave_Gershman
4 years 7 months ago

I got a really good gig with Beyond the Box Score. So that’s where I’m usually at.

Ferrariman
4 years 7 months ago

Kazmir has a pet elephant?

hrbomber1113
4 years 7 months ago

this is just stupid. He hasn’t been the same since he pitched in the 08 All Star game when he wasn’t supposed to. he needs to have the surgery and get it over with. Obviously, he has lost velocity and it hurts to throw the great slider he used to have. Same thing happened to Johan except he still had the amazing change up and pitched in the NL.

4 years 7 months ago

Overwork at a young age?

Kazmir pitched a ton of high leverage innings before age 24.

cookmeister
4 years 7 months ago

Kazmir might be one of the most important players if the angels want to have success. if he struggles, there is just a black hole at the 5th starter spot and our FO will look bad once again… if he comes back to his old self and has a good year, the rotation sets up to be one of the better ones in the MLB, and could be the reason they win

Karkat
4 years 7 months ago

We’re looking at this the wrong way. Kazmir is just finally playing like Victor Zambrano.

tacko
4 years 7 months ago

Oliver Perez 2.0

$1529282
4 years 7 months ago

That’s a sad, but very accurate comparison… poor Kazzy. Always liked him.

Tko11
4 years 7 months ago

Not quite…Ollie is far worse.

Cody
4 years 7 months ago

If the Angels get good years out of Kaz and Dan they could have one of the top rotations in baseball. Just look at it Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana, Dan Haren, Joel Pineiro. That’s a very good rotation if they pitch to their past standards.

Thurman8er
4 years 7 months ago

It’s a very good top 4. But what could possibly lead you to think they could get a good year out of Kazmir?

4 years 7 months ago

Because its his contract year and he is still young?

Cody
4 years 7 months ago

All they need is a 4.00 ERA and 10-15 wins and that’s a good year for Kaz being that he is the #5 starter right now. And I’m not just some angels homer either I’m a big Red Sox fan.

Thurman8er
4 years 7 months ago

What could possibly lead you to think they could get a 4.00 ERA out of Kazmir?

Ferrariman
4 years 7 months ago

his track record before 2010 and his age?

Donskoy
4 years 7 months ago

He either has to regain his velocity (which I don’t think is going to happen) or he has to relearn how to pitch. I think he’s going to have a few off years, just barely staying in the Major Leagues, and then reestablish himself at, like, 31.

MetsEventually
4 years 7 months ago

Worlds biggest facepalm. Damn.

Redsoxn8tion
4 years 7 months ago

I can see the Yankees making a big push for him if he hits FA next year.

I am Urban Legend
4 years 7 months ago

yup. especially if it means wiping it in the Mets face. (see doc/darryl/cone)

4 years 7 months ago

Kazmir, Bonderman & Francis are all reclamation projects that are probably done.

AngelsWatcher
4 years 7 months ago

This is funny you people really are bad fans always find something to complain about, this is the same type of negative comments that people said about Cliff Lee in 06 and more in 07 yet look at that left hander now. Not that there the same but I believe he has the ability to be really good if not great again.

SalaryCapPlease
4 years 7 months ago

As an Angel fan, I couldn’t agree with you more about Kaz. However, most people who post on this website are not Angel fans so they get caught up in recent events and lose sight about what is still there.

Before the 2010 season started, I must have read article after article about how the Angels are slowly becoming a model franchise: from the front office to the players. It’s amazing how a single season/offseason can change such a public perspective.

It’s comments like “Arte Moreno will have you know they were never actually seriously interested in success” and “lol angels” makes me realize how near-sighted baseball fans are. Quite honestly, I am the same way which is why I think most people will rant or whine about a different team next offseason. Also, it’s Arte’s money, not anyone else’s.

The Angels rotation is very solid next season with or without Kaz. If he shows that “he has the ability to be really good if not great again” like you say then it will be icing on the cake as the 5th starter. They will be fine.

4 years 7 months ago

Clearly he is having shoulder issues. The Angels would have been wise to have just shut him down at the end of last season. He needs time to build up shoulder strength and get his mechanics in order.

bjhaas1977
4 years 7 months ago

trade kazmir back to the mets for ollie perez. if the are taking on bad contracts!

start_wearing_purple
4 years 7 months ago

And if they trade for Zito they’d have the least productive team in history for the price tag.

I am Urban Legend
4 years 7 months ago

the mets in 1992 and 2003 were FAR less productive with one of the top 3 payrolls in baseball.
i dont see ollie making the team at all. I do see castillo being motivated to make the decision harder for them to make. if he hits .400 in spring training, plays vintage defense, speaks the queens english, is all smiles…I wonder if Sandy will keep him or were the Wilpons just holding onto him last year so the GM this year would score some easy PR points by releasing ollie/perez.

these are the wilpons, and everything is about image.

Mdey
4 years 7 months ago

I’m sure the Mets would do it. Kazmir has more upside than Perez does. Reagins would probably demand that Luis Castillo be included as well.

Cody
4 years 7 months ago

All they need is a 4.00 ERA and 10-15 wins and that’s a good year for Kaz being that he is the #5 starter right now. And I’m not just some angels homer either I’m a big Red Sox fan.

NathanielS
4 years 7 months ago

Mike Trout will save us from our sin.

Lunchbox45
4 years 7 months ago

unless he’s traded for milton bradley first

ryankrol
4 years 7 months ago

As a former pitcher, I’ve observed Kazmir’s falloff very closely. And it appears to be a simple matter of holding his hands higher when he lifts his leg, and putting the umph in his follow through. The problem is that he lost his confidence, and that will make even the easiest of adjustments more complicated than they need to be. But if it’s his shoulder, then he’s just foolish as Troy Glaus was for trying to rehab it and play through it.

bomberj11
4 years 7 months ago

I totally agree with the confidence thing. Send him to the minors for a few starts, bring him back up to start against a weak offense only going five innings, and see what happens.

Tko11
4 years 7 months ago

After hes been in the majors for so long, a move to the minors would decrease his confidence even more in my opinion. He needs his velocity back. Maybe watch some tapes from when he was successful and see what exactly hes doing wrong if it is mechanical problems.

I am Urban Legend
4 years 7 months ago

I believe Rick Peterson saw something in his delivery in 2003 that would lead to arm problems, he didnt want to change his delivery and lo and behold, 6 years later he developed those arm problems. To his credit, he swallowed his pride and went looking for Rick at some point in 2009 and Rick got him back on track. Not sure what happeend in 2010.

4 years 7 months ago

Peterson screwed up more than his fair share of Brewers pitchers the past year +.

I think his star has faded.

adropofvenom
4 years 7 months ago

Brewers didn’t have good pitchers for him to screw up…

I am Urban Legend
4 years 7 months ago

Thank You Fred and Jeff Wilpon for approving one of the worst trades in Met history. All because your favorite pitchers Al Leiter and John Franco had a lil beef with the kid in spring training over playing Eminem in the clubhouse. Then one of their newly hired renowned superscouts, who came from the tampa bay org. says that he knows the PERFECT guy to get. Brings it up to Peterson, Peterson gives his blessing, says he can fix him in 15 minutes. Trade approved. All the while Jim Duquette was ADAMENT about not trading Kazmir away for Alfonso Soriano, or anyone in MLB for that matter. When it became apparent that zambrano was damaged goods and kazmir was a beast. The Wilpons once again conveniently blame their GM.

Lunchbox45
4 years 7 months ago

When I was a little girl in Panama, a rich American came to our town and he was wearing the softest most beautiful sweater. I said to him, “what do you call this most beautiful fabric?”, and he said “they call it cashmere”. I repeated the words “cashmere, cashmere”. I asked if I could have it, and he said “No. Get away from me.” Then he started walk away. But I grabbed onto his leg screaming for him to give me the sweater and he dragged me through the street. And then he kicked at me with the other foot and threw some change at me. Oh, but I didn’t want the change Georgie. I wanted the cashmere”.

start_wearing_purple
4 years 7 months ago

Watching Seinfeld while drunk early in the morning?

Lunchbox45
4 years 7 months ago

what makes you think I’m drunk?

start_wearing_purple
4 years 7 months ago

The random Seinfeld comment…

wickedkevin
4 years 7 months ago

If I don’t relate a moment in my day to Seinfeld it is a bad day.

Lunchbox45
4 years 7 months ago

exactly

YanksFanSince78
4 years 7 months ago

THis is THEE most random comment. Are you comparing trading for Kazmir sort of like shopping in the irregular/defective pile at the department store?

Lunchbox45
4 years 7 months ago

not really.. I just loved this episode of seinfeld and every time I hear Scott Kazmir, I end up thinking of this quote..

I guess you could compare Scott to a defective Cashmere sweater, once a young and dominant strike out machine, now a pitcher with a red dot on his slider.

kdub53
4 years 7 months ago

The topic here is KAZMIR not KRAMEr!! :)

4 years 7 months ago

i get it. his name sounds like cashmere..