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Friday, August 28, 2009

Scott Kazmir Deal Falls Through For Angels; UPDATE: Or Not?

The Angels supposedly were on the verge of a deal for Scott Kazmir earlier in the day, but it apparently fell through. The supposed return was minor leaguers, RHP Alexander Torres and 3B Matthew Sweeney. (Also via the Times, which hasn't bothered to correct the story yet.)

You can tell how pathetic the Angels' pitching situation has gotten when Lyle Spencer is penning pieces declaiming Brad Penny's usefulness to the Angels. He'll be more useful to the Rangers.

Update: Or is it on again? A tweet from the St. Petersburg Times claims the deal's been greenlit again. The full story's at tampabay.com.

While we're waiting for confirmation one way or another, From The Dugout forwards us to a July 29 Fangraphs piece by Dave Cameron about Kazmir's probable worth. The thinking is that with $20M owed him in 2010/2011 and his strikeout rate plummeting this year (though rebounding a bit at the tail end of this season), his deal will be an albatross sooner rather than later. It looks like a bit of a desperation move, especially considering this is a guy who has thrown 200 innings or more exactly once in his career.

Update 2: Joel Sherman at the New York Post claims the deal's done.

Update 3: Mark Saxon of the Register says Joe Maddon has issued a "no comment" response to the trade, which he reads as "something is still going on".

Update 4: Mike Scioscia refuses to confirm a deal also.

"There's a lot of speculation out there," he said. "There is nothing imminent. I'm not going to comment on any particular players." He declined to define "imminent."
Update 5: It finally went through, with the addition of a PTBNL. Whew.

Labels: ,


Comments:
I think before we go nuts about Kazmir's potential velocity drop, or about his injuries "waiting to happen", I think it's still worth pointing out a few remarkable facts:

1. Kazmir will be the youngest starter in the rotation, and not by a little.
2. In the middle of his 25th year, he is already a two-time All Star.
3. In five full seasons, he's never had a losing one, and this season is the first time he's stumbled.
4. The guy has terrific numbers against Boston, New York and Texas.
5. He pitched five games in the postseason last season, with four solid outings, including a six-inning shutout of Boston at Fenway.

Kazmir has pitched five games since the Dave Cameron analysis, and his K9 rate is back up to right around 9, and his BB9 rate is under 3 in that time. Since Cameron's analysis was largely based on a ridiculously small sample of six games, I think it's fair to counter that with his August numbers for good measure. Not to mention that we were essentially talking about a velocity decline from 94-95 to 92-93 in that same window. Compare those numbers to Hokie Joe, and I'm not certain why there's such a fuss.

I think this is a decent gamble, and a fair trade. While I was getting intrigued with Torres, neither he nor Sweeney were on any hot lists at the beginning of the season. We've got Kazmir for two seasons, which is half the risk we took on Escobar, and we'll be paying him less next year than we paid Garland in 2008. Ok, so he's an injury risk. So is Lackey, Santana, Saunders, Weaver, and Roy Halliday for that matter.

I'm ok with this trade.
 
I am, too. I see it as a risk, but one the Rays organization wasn't willing to take, and so the Halos pick up a guy with a big upside but also $20M in downside risk (plus his option year buyout if it comes to that). It also works as Lackey insurance.

I'm looking forward to seeing him later this week against Seattle.
 
Don't ever, ever use All-Star appearances and W-L Record to judge a pitcher. They're meaningless.
 
I'm hardly a saber-skeptic, dude. But saying that consistent performance over the course of a season (which ASG appearances would testify to) are "meaningless" is the sort of a comment that a college sophomore who just stumbled upon Bill James and Beyond the Box Score would make to impress the boys at the rotisserie club.
 

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