FOXSports.com is reporting that the Oakland Athletics are finalizing a two-year, $22 million deal with left-hander Scott Kazmir.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com via Twitter:
Sources: #Athletics close to signing free-agent LHP Scott Kazmir.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 2, 2013
According to MLB.com, the A’s have not confirmed the signing. Kazmir, a two-time All-Star with Tampa Bay in 2006 and 2008, had his career derailed by injuries shortly thereafter.
He was dealt to the Los Angeles Angels in 2009 and in 26 starts for the Rays and Angels posted a 4.89 ERA and 1.419 WHIP. It got no better in 2010 with Los Angeles, as he had a 5.94 ERA and 1.580 WHIP in 28 starts. He made one start for the Angels in 2011, allowing five hits and five runs, all earned, in 1.2 innings and was shut down and later released.
He pitched in 2012 for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League, where he had a 5.34 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in 14 starts and 64 innings with 51 strikeouts.
The Cleveland Indians took a flyer on Kazmir last winter and were they ever rewarded. The left-hander, who turns 30 next month, went 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA and 1.323 WHIP in 29 starts and 158 innings, fanning 162. It was his best ERA and WHIP since 3.49 and 1.267 marks for the American League champion Rays in 2008. He helped the Indians reach the American League Wild Card Playoff, which they lost to the Rays.
Over a four-season stretch for Tampa Bat from 2005-08, Kazmir was one of the best young lefties in baseball, going 45-34 with a 3.51 ERA and 1.354 WHIP in 117 starts and 689.2 innings with 742 strikeouts.
As Rosenthal mentioned in his tweets, Kazmir’s addition likely spells the end in Oakland for former Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon. The 40-year-old right-hander went 18-6 for the A’s in 2013 with a 2.65 ERA and 1.166 WHIP with 117 strikeouts in 30 starts and 190.1 innings.
Brett Anderson could also be shopped, according to Rosenthal. The lefty came to Oakland as part of the deal that sent Dan Haren to Arizona in December 2007 and he had a solid rookie season in 2009, going 11-11 with a 4.06 ERA and 1.283 WHIP, with 150 strikeouts in 175.1 innings.
Since then, it’s been a revolving door relationship with the disabled list for Anderson. He missed almost half of 2010 with a forearm strain, had Tommy John surgery in 2011, making 13 starts that season and six after returning in 2012, an oblique strain in 2012 and an ankle injury/stress fracture in foot limited him last season. Over the last four seasons, Anderson has only made 43 starts (he also has 11 relief appearances) and has a 3.66 ERA and 1.282 WHIP with 207 strikeouts in 275.1 innings.
The A’s picked up Anderson’s $8 million option for 2014, but he has been linked to trade rumors involving the Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals (per the tweet below), according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
One of the possible targets the Royals have talked about internally, in filling a spot in their rotation, is Oakland’s Brett* Anderson.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 20, 2013
Does $11 million a year for two years seem pricey for a guy with one solid year after four injury-plagued ones? A bit, perhaps, but a healthy Scott Kazmir gives the A’s a power lefty arm in the rotation and the bonus is he’s 10 years younger than Colon.