Jim Bowden of ESPN and Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com are reporting that the Oakland A’s have reached an agreement with free agent starter Scott Kazmir on a two-year, $22 million contract to join the A’s rotation.
Kazmir, originally a first round draft pick of the New York Mets in the 2002 amateur draft, had his best seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays from 2005-2008. He posted a career best ERA of 3.24 in 2006 as a 22-year old for the Rays and earned his first of two All-Star selections. He was also chosen for the American League All Star team in 2008.
He was dealt to the Los Angeles Angels in the middle of the 2009 season and pitched with the Angels through the 2011 season, though after a very promising begin to his Angels’ tenure, he failed to live up to expectations in 2010 and only saw one start in 2011 before spending the 2012 season in Independent League baseball with the Sugarland Skeeters.
Kazmir returned to the Major Leagues last season with the Cleveland Indians and proved to be a quality Major League starter again, pitching to the tune of a 10-9 record and a 4.04 ERA. He averaged 9.02 K/9 compared to 2.7 BB/9 in 158 innings pitched. His velocity rebounded from the below 87 MPH readings in 2011 to around 92.5 MPH last season.
For the A’s, Kazmir appears to be the consolation prize after finishing second in the Tim Hudson bidding to the San Francisco Giants. Considering his age though, 30 this January, Kazmir could wind up being a bargain for the A’s if he proves his 2013 season was no fluke.
He joins a rotation that already includes Jarrod Parker, Sonny Gray, A.J. Griffin, Dan Straily, Tom Milone and Brett Anderson. It’s likely that Straily, Milone and Anderson will compete for the fifth starter spot, though it is possible that competition could be reduced if the A’s trade Anderson.
Though at this point there has been no announcement that this will end Oakland’s pursuit of a reunion with Bartolo Colon, it seems highly unlikely that they would spend more money on another veteran starter and further extend the starting competition unless they part ways with one of their younger starters in a trade for a bat.