Angels Add Scott Kazmir

File this one under “unlikely August trades”.

The Angels add the 25-year-old Scott Kazmir to a rotation swamped with doctor visits all season with the knowledge that Kazmir himself is injury prone. His velocity is down from years past, and his stuff isn’t generating the same kind of whiffs as it once did, which is reflective in his contact and strikeout rates. That being said, he’s been quite a bit better since returning from the disabled list in June and working with Rick Peterson.

His deal is only guaranteed for an additional two seasons at 20 million with a club option for 2012 thrown in. As outlandish as this would’ve read when the extension was signed, there’s a real chance that Kazmir will fail to be worth the 20 million over the next two seasons. He’s looking at his second straight ~league average performance and his durability has always been a concern. Pitchers don’t age like hitters, so there’s no guarantee that Kazmir will ever top his 2007 season. That’s not to say he’ll continue to get progressively worse, but Kazmir the strikeout king probably won’t walk through the doors anytime soon.

Still, moving forward ZiPS projects him for a modest 3.82 FIP moving forward. That’s a bit worse than John Lackey, about equal to Jered Weaver, and a bit better than Ervin Santana. Kazmir isn’t an ace anymore, and the Angels aren’t asking him to be one. He has the capability of being a solid starter as long as he remains healthy.

The Rays clear up salary and get three young players in return. Carson mentioned Alexander Torres a few days ago and the book on him is simple: he’s a 21-year-old short lefty with a heavy fastball capable of missing bats and generating grounders while boasting extreme strikeout ratios and just as extreme walk rates.

Matthew Sweeney is a big lefty who is listed at third base but probably moves over to first for the Rays because of that one guy, Evan Langoria, Longoria? Whatever. Injuries have lowered Sweeney’s stock and his numbers are inflated thanks to the California League.

The third player is officially listed as a player to be named later, but it’s believed to be a player currently on the Angels 40-man roster who simply wouldn’t clear waivers.

Both teams seem to fair decently here. The Angels can afford Kazmir and his inherent risks while the Rays simply cannot. People are going to accuse the Rays of quitting on 2009 but the playoffs were a longshot anyways, and the difference between Kazmir and Andy Sonnanstine over a handful of starts isn’t going to make or break their chances.




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14 Responses to “Angels Add Scott Kazmir”

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  1. J Duquette says:

    I cannot be the only Met fan that chokes on the irony of Rick Peterson assisting Kazmir? Well, we do have Pat Misch!

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  2. Joe R says:

    Must feel odd to Rays fans to think their first real star player and the guy who looked to be the face of the pitching staff just 10 months ago is gone now. Obviously they got decent return, especially for a question mark that’s still owed $20 mil, but must sting a little still.

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  3. polkcountydude says:

    It stings a little bit, but more than anyone, Carl Crawford was our first star player. If dumping Kaz helps to keep him around for at least next year, then I’m all for the trade. Plus, after watching almost every Kaz start the past three years, his attitude has completely changed. He doesn’t have that swagger anymore, let alone the results.

    And we have Jeremy Hellickson. Check out his start last night in Durham:

    107 pitches
    8 innings – 26 batters faced
    1 hit
    2 walks
    12 strikeouts

    The Rays still have too many pitchers for 5 spots.

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    • Joe R says:

      That’s very good.
      I forgot about Crawford, too, I forgot what a diamond in the rough he was for years. Obviously a guy a lot of nerds sleep on by neglecting his worth as a defender (and it’s not like he’s bad at getting on, his career OBP is .334 with decent pop).

      I’m a Sox fan, but I like the Rays as an organization. They may be the new A’s, done a great job of locking in talent for cheap, and finding it with players like Pena, Zobrist, and Bartlett.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Actually, a .334 OBP *is* bad at getting on, especially for a corner outfielder. Obviously, Crawford’s defense and basestealing wizardry make him valuable, but he’s below league average OBP at a corner outfield position. That’s, like, not good.

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      • Joe R says:

        I wouldn’t call it bad given that .334 is the league adjsted average OBP for Crawford during his career. If he played CF (which SSS aside he appears more than capable of), it would be even more mitigated.

        And from 2006 on, it’s been .348, this season, it’s .366. I usually am a fan of the JD Drew type / high walk-OBP players, but Carl Crawford can play on my team any day of the week. Maybe not for the $15 mil a year as mentioned in this thread, though.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        I didn’t say Crawford couldn’t play on my team, but he can play on my team in spite of his bad OBP. The rest of his skillset mitigates it’s detritus effect, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s bad for a CO. Yes, if he was a CF, this would be a different discussion, and I agree it’s been much better in two of the past three years, but those weren’t the assertions I was disagreeing with.

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      • Joe R says:

        Point made, I just think labeling a .334 OBP as “bad” is a bit of a reach, it’s pretty average to me. Then again, I may be biased as Crawford has so many mitigating factors to his overall game. It’s not a Juan Pierre situation where you know all you’re getting is singles, average defense, a 75% SB rate (effectively no base stealing value either way).

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      • brendan says:

        Kevin S, you mean ‘its deleterious effect’? Detritus is a noun; and possesive its has no apostrophe.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Perhaps. I made the mistake of trusting Firefox’s spell-checker.

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      • Dom says:

        Crawford bats in the lineup position most likely to see strikes from the pitcher, making him less likely to walk. .334 really isn’t that bad considering where he bats in the order

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  4. RaysFan says:

    I just don’t see us committing the at least $15 million that Crawford is going to command with Desmond Jennings continuing to improve in the farm system.

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    • polkcountydude says:

      Very true and I agree with your point. However, I think Crawford is the better option next year; and he still is a great value at the $10m option plus bonuses. If we fall off the pace, we can maybe move [our] CC before the deadline to make room for Desmond Jennings.

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  5. blackoutyears says:

    I think the author is underrating Matt Sweeney. Considering his scouting reports and K:BB he’s doing exactly what was expected of him prior to the ankle injury which cost him 2008. As a player who will be in Double-A as a 22-year-old, all he has to do is prove that he can stay healthy and the bat will do the rest. Yeah, he’s blocked at 3B and this dims his luster a bit, but he’s got enough bat for a corner. In my opinion this is a typically savvy Rays grab of an under the radar talent (see Joyce, Matt).

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