In the latest MLB news, Scott Kazmir is trying to come back to the majors again. The 37-year-old southpaw recently appeared at the DST showcase in Houston, where he impressed scouts. He spent 2020 pitching for the Eastern Reyes del Tigre of the Constellation Energy League.
Latest MLB News: Kazmir’s MLB Career
Kazmir was originally a first-round draft pick by the New York Mets in 2002. Kazmir never appeared in a game for the Mets though, as he was infamously traded to the Devil Rays in 2004 for Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato.
Kazmir blossomed in Tampa Bay, and he was one of the more underrated starting pitchers in baseball from 2005-2008. During that stretch, he went 45-34 with a 3.51 ERA/3.72 FIP (127 ERA+), a 1.354 WHIP, and 742 strikeouts in 689.2 innings pitched (9.7 K/9). While he had trouble limiting the free pass, Kazmir finished eighth in Rookie of the Year voting in 2005 and was an All-Star twice in that stretch. In 2007, Kazmir led the AL in strikeouts with 239. In 2008, Kazmir helped the Rays reach the postseason for the first time and led them to a World Series appearance.
Kazmir began to struggle in 2009 and was traded to the Angels that August. While he pitched well down the stretch for the team, Kazmir was shelled for nine runs in 10.2 innings in the playoffs. His struggles only worsened in 2010, as his ERA rose to an unsightly 5.94, which ranked as the worst among qualified pitchers. On July 10 of that season, Kazmir was rocked for 11 hits and 13 earned runs in a 15-1 beatdown loss against the Oakland A’s.
Kazmir battled shoulder injuries in 2010 and his problems only got worse in 2011. Kazmir was only able to make one start, surrendering five runs in 1.2 innings pitched. He was sent to the minors, where he continued to get shelled. In June of 2011, the Angels released Kazmir.
Kazmir pitched for the Sugar Land Skeeters in the 2012 season before he inked a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians that December. He would have a solid 2013 season, pitching to a 10-9 record with a 4.04 ERA/3.51 FIP (94 ERA+), a 1.323 WHIP, and 162 strikeouts in 158 innings (9.2 K/9). Kazmir’s performance earned him a two-year contract with the Oakland A’s worth $20 million.
Over the next two seasons, Kazmir showed flashes of his Tampa Bay form. In 2014, he was an All-Star, pitching to a 15-9 record with a 3.55 ERA/3.35 FIP (105 ERA+), a career-best 1.161 WHIP, and 164 strikeouts in 190.1 innings (7.8 K/9). The A’s began to fall apart in 2014 though, and Kazmir was traded to the Astros in July of 2015. Between Houston and Oakland, Kazmir had a 3.10 ERA/3.98 FIP (126 ERA+), a 1.208 WHIP, and 155 strikeouts in 183 innings (7.6 K/9).
Following the 2015 season, Kazmir signed a three-year, $48 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He began to battle hip problems in 2016. His ERA jumped to 4.56 and he only pitched in 136.1 innings. Kazmir hasn’t appeared in the big leagues since the 2016 season, as his injuries have continued to sideline him. In December of 2017, the Dodgers traded Kazmir to the Braves, but he was released without ever appearing in a game.
Can Kazmir Make it Back?
The latest MLB news may come as a surprise to some, but Kazmir may be worth taking a chance on. He is a three-time All-Star and almost every MLB team could use pitching depth in some form or another. Kazmir may not be able to return to his All-Star form, but he could still be a serviceable pitcher.
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