Anybody remember Scott Kazmir?
I’m posting about Scott Kazmir for more than one reason; because the Mets traded him to the evil Rays and he became their ace, and because he is in the independent leagues right now. Kazmir was a 2 time All-Star while playing for the Rays, and played in the Major League until June of last year.
Kazmir was considered the next best pitcher for the New York Mets in 2004, while he was playing with the Binghamton Mets, the Mets Double-A affiliate. On July 30, 2004, he was traded along with another minor league pitcher named Joselo Diaz, who played one game in the Major Leagues, to Tampa Bay for pitcher Victor Zambrano, who played in the Majors until 2007, but required the second Tommy John surgery of his career in 2006, and Bartolomé Fortunato, who was out of affiliated baseball by the next year. Needless to say, if you take away Kazmir, this trade was a dud.
Now onto Kazmir, who this article is about. On August 23rd of the same year, he got called up and pitched 5 scoreless innings against the Seattle Mariners. He ended the 2004 season with a record of 2-3 and a 5.67 ERA while appearing in 8 games, 7 of them starts. On September 9th, he made a relief appearance against the New York Yankees and gave up only 1 run in 3 innings of work.
The Rays obviously liked Kazmir, and believed he was going to be the future of their pitching staff, because he started the season opener in 2006 on April 3rd, against the Baltimore Orioles. The opening day start was a rough one for Scott, as he get knocked around for 6 runs in only 4 innings of work. He finished off the 2006 season pretty good, though, with an 10-8 record and 3.24 ERA. This was obviously enough for his peers, as they elected him to the 2006 All-Star Game, in which he pitched a 1-2-3 6th inning, retiring Albert Pujols, Carlos Beltran, and Freddy Sanchez. On August 22nd of 2006, he struck out 8 Texas Rangers batters to become the Tampa Bay Devil Rays franchise leader in strikeouts.
2007 was Scott’s best season, he led the AL in strikeouts, 239, and starts, 34. He also picked up 13 wins this season, while having poor run support (The 2007 Tampa team lost 96 games!). The fact that he didn’t make the All-Star Team in 2007 stunned people.
Scott didnt pitch until May 4th of the 2008 season, because he hurt his elbow during Spring Training. The injury didn’t stop him from going 5-1 with a 1.22 ERA in May 2008. Kazmir was elected to the 2008 All-Star Game, and pitched in the 15th inning, making him the winning pitcher. Kazmir went 5-3 the second half of the season, and posted a 1-1 record through 5 starts in the postseason. The ongoing problem with Kazmir was that he couldn’t go deep into ballgames, he mostly went 5 or 6 innings. During the season, Kazmir signed a 4 year contract in which he was guarenteed 28.5M.
Again, Kazmir found himself with elbow problems, but was activated on April 8th. For some reason, Kazmir lost it. He went 4-4, with a terrible 7.69 ERA before going back on the DL in late May because of leg problems. He returned on June 27th and brought his season record to 8-7 with a still shocking 5.92 ERA. August 28th of this year, he was traded the the Angels (not writing their full name, because its confusing, why can we just call them the Los Angeles Angels?). Kazmir finished the season with a 2-2 record and a 1.73 ERA with his new team. In the postseason, he has a 7.56 ERA with a 0-1 record.
A trend for Kazmir was starting the season on the DL, as he did in 2010 for the third time. He returned April 15th only to lose to the Yankees. He had a 6.92 ERA the first half of the season, which was good enough for the worst of all AL starters, and a 7-9 record. On July 18th, he once again went n the DL, but returned in August to finish the stadium with a 9-15 record.
Kazmir struggled in 2011 Spring Training, giving up 19 runs in 23 innings of work. He gave up 5 runs in 2 2/3 innings in his first regular season start, and was sent to Extended Spring Training. After spending a month in Extended Spring Training, he was sent to the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees, where he had a 17.02 ERA in 5 starts….yes you read that right. On June 15th, he was released by the Angels, and thus marked his final day in affiliated baseball. He tried getting his career back on track by playing in the Dominican League, but in his only start he gave up 2 walks and 2 hits in only 1/3 of an inning.
Scott Kazmir’s career was one of the quickest to slip down the drain; one season he had it, and one he didn’t. It makes you wonder what happened…
Kazmir signed a contract to play on the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League on July 7th, and has yet to make an appearance.