According to a report from Mike DiGiovanna from the LA Times, the Angels are expected to release left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir from their roster later today.
Kazmir was once a highly-touted left hander for the Tampa Bay Rays, holding a career 55-44 record with a 3.92 ERA and a ridiculous 9.4 SO/9 rate in five-and-a-half years with them. He was also a cornerstone piece that ultimately got the Rays to World Series for the first time in franchise history. Of late, though, Kazmir has fallen from grace.
Since Andrew Friedman decided to trade Kazmir to the Angels in 2009 he has lost his status as an elite pitcher. In about a season-and-a-half with the Angels, Kazmir is 11-17 with a 5.31 ERA and a lower 5.7 SO/9 and higher 9.1 H/9. Due to injuries, Kazmir has only been able to start just one game this year. In his lone appearance, Kazmir only lasted 1.2 innings, giving up five earned runs on five hits.
Kazmir is the clear definition of a declining pitcher, but is he worth a shot if you are Theo Epstein?
Because Kazmir is expected to be released, not traded, the Angels will be forced to eat all of Kazmir's salary including a buyout, so which ever team picks him up won't have to inherit any of his previous salary excepting the league minimum.
Epstein recently took on a struggling pitcher in 26-year old Andrew Miller and stashed him in AAA Pawtucket in order to further develop his skills. Before being traded to the Red Sox, Miller was a career 15-26 with a 5.84 ERA in five seasons with the Florida Marlins. Since then, Miller has changed some things in his mechanics and appears on his way back to the majors after having a successful stint with Pawtucket.
While Miller never had much success in the majors, Kazmir has had success. He, along with Kevin Millwood could be stashed in AAA Pawtucket for a little while, and can be used as an emergency call-up if necessary. With Miller coming up, Kazmir with time could slide into his spot in the Pawtucket rotation and hopefully can work to at least become a serviceable starter (or even reliever) again.
As DiGiovanna explains, Kazmir would certainly be a work in progress:
But Kazmir, who has lost considerable velocity on his fastball and command of all three of his pitches, has made no progress - he has a 17.02 earned-run average for Salt Lake, allowing 29 earned runs, 22 hits and 20 walks and striking out 14 in 151/3 innings.
When Kazmir officially reaches free agent stature, I believe he could potentially be a a low-risk, high-reward guy on a minor league deal. With his success in the past, the folks in AAA could possibly help him (like they did Miller and are currently do with Millwood) become a serviceable starter for the Red Sox.
As we've found out this year and in the past, you can never have to much pitching depth.
What do you think?