(Photo Credit: Yardbarker.com)
It’s not terribly often that a title can really be all that needs to be said, but in this case it pretty much does. I’m sure it’s possible not everyone stayed up to watch the massacre that was Scott Kazmir throwing batting practice to the A’s last night, so if you didn’t I’ll give you a quick summary:
Kazmir threw 103 pitches over 5 innings, giving up 11 hits and 13 runs, all earned. He struck out 2, which is one fewer than the number of home runs he gave up last night.
Kazmir’s home run total is now up to 17, and he’s well on his way to shattering his previous career high of 23. Of those 17, he’s given up 7 in just his last four starts. Those four starts, 19.2 innings total, also include 29 hits, 12 walks against only 11 K’s, a .440 OBP, a .341 AVG, and a 13.73 ERA. All this leaves him with a 6.92 ERA and a 6.02 FIP over 17 starts. At this point, I wonder if Tampa’s GM gets a good laugh every time he sees Kazmir is starting for us. Even if we weren’t paying him $8MM this season (along with $12MM next season, and a $2.5MM buyout in 2012 if we don’t want him mucking things up for a third full season), there has to be no question now that the Rays clearly hosed us.
In my mind, this is another area, much like not signing Carlos Beltran in favor of Steve Finley/Gary Matthews Jr/Torii Hunter, where the Angels have attempted to be frugal and it’s completely come back to bite them in the ass. They didn’t want to trade for Halladay or pay to sign Sabathia or even try to trade for Cliff Lee when the Phillies were looking to move him, so instead they got completely owned by the Rays in a trade for Kazmir. I was living in St. Louis when the A’s traded Mark Mulder to the Cardinals for Daric Barton, Kiko Calero, and Dan Haren, and for a long time I thought that ended up being one of the worst trades I’d seen since I really started following baseball. I think it’s safe to say the acquisition of Scott Kazmir is now worse than that, since Mulder was actually able to give the Cardinals a full season of really productive pitching before injuries eventually ended his career.
Much like Mulder, though, Kazmir has seen injuries really start to drain away his ability at a young age. It’s easy for me to forget that Kazmir is only 26 years old and already he’s gone from a really good pitcher to a guy giving up more runs over 5 innings than almost everyone else in baseball over the last 50 years. Mulder was 27 when he had his last productive season in the majors. Given the trend his numbers have shown over recent years and outings like the one he had last night (even with the correct call made at home, he would still have given up 7 runs), one has to wonder if Kazmir’s last truly good season will have come at age 24.