In a move that likely signals the end of the Bartolo Colon era, the Oakland Athletics have agreed to terms with free agent pitcher Scott Kazmir on a 2 year pact worth a reported $22M. ESPN’s Jim Bowden first reported the deal was done. Essentially the money that the A’s were dangling out there in their pursuit of Tim Hudson will now go to Kazmir.
The 29 year old spent 2012 pitching in independent ball after suffering major shoulder injuries that had essentially knocked him out of baseball. The Cleveland Indians gave him a shot last year, and he displayed the velocity and stuff that made him one of the top young lefties in the game once again. He posted a 4.04 ERA with a strong 9.2 strikeouts/9 innings and 2.7 walks/9 innings over 158 total frames in 2013 with the Tribe. Kazmir showed his stuff against the A’s during that brutal four game sweep in Cleveland in May, he struck out 10 in 6 innings of work, allowing just a couple runs on 5 hits, he didn’t fare quite as well in Oakland later in the year, but that start obviously made an impression on the A’s organization, and they monitored his work throughout the rest of the season.
I like the signing as a potential upgrade for the rotation, but it certainly doesn’t come without its risks. Presumably, if Kazmir can hold up through these two years he should continue to regain his form, perhaps not at the All-Star level he once had, but he should be more than effective. He should slot in the rotation at the number two or number three spot behind Jarrod Parker and perhaps Sonny Gray. This move of course not only likely ends Bartolo Colon’s time in Oakland, it may also spell the end of the road for Brett Anderson, who has already been the subject of trade rumors this offseason.
It scares me a little, but I give this deal my temporary stamp of approval. I hope Kazmir stays healthy, but just like Anderson, I’ll believe it when I see it.