Follow up on Kazmir trade as Rays defeat Angels

Below is an article I wrote on August 30, 2009 in response to Kazmir being trade to the Angels.

—> Scott Kazmir was acquired by the Angels early Saturday for minor league pitching prospect Alex Torres, infielder Matt Sweeney, and right-hander Jordan Walden. From a financial standpoint Tampa Bay has got to feel good about trading Scott Kazmir.  Had Kazmir remained with the Rays he likely would’ve been part of an elite group of players in the “12.5 Percent Club”.  Players like Johan Santana, Alex Rodriquez, Roy Halladay, Eric Byrnes, and Jeff Suppan are all members.  Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and all of the Redsox are not.  What this means is Kazmir would have accounted for at least one-eighth of the Rays total payroll.  The Rays $63 million dollar payroll is small potatoes compared to other MLB teams and the $8 million Kazmir was set to make in 2010 would have sunk the Rays.

One has to think though. Other than being a good financial move, why would the Rays let such an elite pitcher go? Kazmir is only 25, has been an All-Star twice and helped the Rays to the World Series in 2008.  He led the league in strikeouts in 2007 and has a career record of 55-45 and a 3.92 ERA.  Not to mention Kazmir threw 4 consecutive no-hitters on his way to 6 no, no’s in a span of 7 starts during high school.  Kazmir also broke the Texas high school record formerly set by Josh Beckett, by striking out 175 batters in 75 innings.  That’s over 2 batters per inning.  Absolutely amazing!  I guess when it comes down to it, saving money is more important than winning right now for the Rays.

Overall I think the Angels got the better end of this deal.  Kazmir gives the Angels the help they need to strengthen up the middle of their shaky rotation and should help the Halos tremendously come September.  If Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana can stay healthy and continue improving Kazmir should get back to performing like he did before he got hurt earlier this year. <—-

It’s been almost a year since the trade happened.  At the time I originally posted the article I also posted a poll.  Including me, 77 percent of the people who voted thought the Angels got the better end of the deal. Last night the Rays proved all 77% of those people wrong.  Regardless of a scarcity of wins in Anaheim and a recent surge of ice cold bats, the Rays picked up a 7-2 victory over Scott Kazmir on Tuesday night.  Kazmir has had a rough start to the 2010 season throwing over 100 pitches and going only 5 innings in all but 1 of his 6 starts.  Kazmir said “I don’t really have to change anything. I’ve just got to get more consistent, trust my stuff and I know I can get deep into games,” said Kazmir who has thrown over 100 pitches in each of his past three starts but made it into the sixth inning just once. “Throwing five innings is not acceptable. It’s really not.”   Despite the Rays subpar hitting the past few games Kazmir still couldn’t get it going Tuesday night.

After hitting .270 with 25 home runs in April, the Rays are hitting .204 in May (28th in the majors) and have hit only 4 home runs – in the AL, only Seattle (3) and Cleveland (2) have hit fewer.   However, the Rays starting pitching has continued to be on fire and have posted the lowest ERAs in team history at this point of the season — David Price (1.91), Jeff Niemann (2.23), Matt Garza (2.49), James Shields (3.13) and Wade Davis (3.18). Price (fourth), Niemann (seventh) and Garza (ninth) are in the top-10 of AL ERA leaders & all 5 are in the top-16 of AL ERA leaders.  Last night Niemann once again dominated.  He has now allowed three runs or less in all seven starts after holding the Los Angeles Angels to a pair of runs in 7 1/3 innings.  Niemann pitched into the seventh inning for the fifth straight outing and won for the third time with each win coming away from Tropicana Field. “It was nice to get a win and stop the bleeding,” Niemann said.  Evan Longoria led the offense with four RBIs, three of which came on a long home run off Scott Shields in the seventh inning.  “I talked about it Monday night, I thought the comeback late hopefully sparked a little something and it showed Tuesday,” Longoria said. “We got out to an early lead, Niemann, he was able to put the pedal to the metal all game. He did a great job for us. We did what our offense normally does for us. We kept tacking on runs.”  Hopefully this was the spark the Rays offense needed to kick things back into high gear for the remainder of May.

So almost a year later, I will ask the same question again.  Who got the better deal in the Kazmir trade to the Angels?

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About Jason Collette

Writer/Analyst
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