Minnesota Twins News & Rumors Forum
  • Free Agent Profile: Scott Kazmir

    As has been mentioned, the Twins are likely to be linked to many names over the next couple of months. One name I think we will hear a lot about is lefty Scott Kazmir. In 2013 with Cleveland he went 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. There is certainly a lot of risk, but he will be 30 through the 2014 season. He made strides in the 2013 season that might make some believe that he could take yet another step forward in 2014.

    Considering where he was the last couple of seasons, the fact that Kazmir is expected to get a multi-year deal at around $8-9 million per year is really quite remarkable.

    Victor Zambrano for Scott Kazmir?

    If you ever wanted to know what kind of crazy used to happen at that July trade deadline, and possibly why it doesn’t happen as often any more, look no further than this July, 2003 trade between the Mets and the Rays. Zambrano was a back-of-the-rotation guy that apparently the Mets thought could take them to the playoffs, and Kazmir was a Top 10 prospect in all baseball, blessed with an upper-90s fastball.

    To no one’s surprise, Kazmir became a star with the Devil Rays. He went 10-9 with a 3.77 ERA as a rookie in 2005, though he was raw and led the league with 100 walks in 186 innings. By 2006, he led the league with 239 strikeouts in 206.2 innings. He never had pinpoint control, but he was young and continuing to improve.

    From that 2005 rookie season through his age-24 season in 2008, he never posted an ERA over that season’s 3.77. However, in 2009, at age 25, he had a 5.92 ERA when he was dealt to the Angels in August. He ended the season fine, but in 2010, he went 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA in 28 starts. In 2011, he made one appearance for the Angels before being sent down to AAA Salt Lake. There, he made five starts and in 15.1 combined innings, he was 0-5 with a 17.02 ERA before being released.

    In 2012, he got an opportunity in his home state of Texas, playing for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League. In 14 starts for former Twins third baseman Gary Gaetti, he went 3-6 with a 5.34 ERA. Certainly not the kind of showing you would hope for from a guy with his history. I mean, he was the Game 1 starter for the Rays in the 2008 World Series.

    But, as you know, things have changed. The lefty went to Puerto Rico and, although he wasn’t throwing in the upper-90s any more, the reports were that he looked good, and was throwing strikes. So, Cleveland gave him a minor league contract with the opportunity to make their roster. He pitched well in spring training and earned a spot on Cleveland’s roster. He got hurt late in spring and made one start for Columbus before coming up to the big leagues again.

    Kazmir was good in 2013. He went 10-9 and posted the 4.04 ERA. His WHIP was a little high, at 1.32, but he had a solid return. Certainly a nice season considering where he had been. His 2.7 BB/9 rate was the lowest of his career. He also pitched well against the Twins.

    Regarding Kazmir, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, “When he was in Tampa, he was young and his body flew everywhere. He’s definitely in more control and command of the strike zone. You don’t see him flying all over. I remember him back there, glove flailing all over the place and the ball coming out at 98, consistently, but missing the strike zone. On his good days, you had no chance. He’s definitely in more command of his body and control of his plate. Now more than ever. The ball has a certain little jump at the end that really jumps on you. Nice little cutter. Decent little change up. His fastball looks like you should get to it, but it jumps. Good for him. He’s worked really hard to get back and I’d say he’s a really good pitcher.”

    Earlier in the week, I wrote about having appropriate expectations during rumor season and particularly when looking at the top pitchers from this year’s free agent class. Each one of them have risks and/or injuries in their recent history.
    Scott Kazmir will sign with someone and be a big risk. As much as Ubaldo Jimenez had been bad for several years before 2013, Kazmir had been bad enough to get released by a team that owed him $12 million and he ended up pitching poorly in the Atlantic League. However, like Jimenez, Kazmir has the ability to miss bats and that makes him very intriguing.



    His 4.04 ERA is alright, but his 3.16 xFIP is very impressive. In 158 innings, he struck out 162 batters. Kazmir is very intriguing.

    The Twins Daily Offseason Handbook projected two years and $18 million for Kazmir. I think I would jump all over that.

    What do you think? How hard should the Twins go after Kazmir?
    Comments 23 Comments
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      This is the lefty I would go for.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      2 years and $25 million? Clearly, I would do that, but I am just pointing out that these predictions that are so low are silly. Kazmir and Hughes will sign for similar money though thee years might be different.
    1. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
      Paul Pleiss -
      I'd sign Kazmir for an annual average value of $10mil or less, maybe even look at adding a 3rd-year team option. The Twins need more guys in the rotation that can miss bats. Kevin Correia looks great in a rotation when he is a 4 or 5, but certainly leaves a lot to be desired when he's your #1.
    1. zchrz's Avatar
      zchrz -
      Hmm I was under the impression Kazmir was de railed more to injury than just losing it. I think he would be a good gamble on an overpay to get him here. Certainly could use a lefty and certainly could use a strikeout pitcher, even if he bombs 2 or 3 years isn't going to hurt things much.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      If the Twins get Arroyo then Kazmir is a perfect compliment to him as you go from soft tossing righty to strikeout lefty to Dedunno to soft tossing righty Corriea to ? I figure the Twins will either go for him or Maholm even though Maholm is also a soft tosser.
    1. markos's Avatar
      markos -
      I think that Kazmir would be a poor fit for a lot of reasons, but my primary reason is that I don't think he will be able to match last year's performance next season. When considering Kazmir, keep in mind that he faced one of the easiest schedules in all of baseball last season, with 19 of his 29 starts against teams with below-average offenses: Twins (5), Royals (5), Astros (2), Mariners (2), Phillies, Mets, White Sox, Marlins, and Yankees. Almost all of these teams had below-average home run rates as well, yet Kazmir still gave up an above-average rate of homers. And if you take out the 5 starts against the Twins from last year, Kazmir's HR/9 rate increases by 11% to 1.20, which would make his HR/9 worse than Kevin Correia's.

      Another reason is that Kazmir has a fairly substantial platoon split, with RH batters' OPS of .794 last year. This is not a great fit for Target Field, which is much better at suppressing LH batters.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      The Twins should go after Kazmir very hard with a multi year offer. He is turning 30. His fastball is back to 2007 levels, which makes me think that the time off was crucial in healing and he is ok health-wise right now. Plus, the Twins do not have any top of the rotation lefty starter prospects above the Rookie leagues. They need a lefty in the rotation. And I'd rather not see Diamond pitch again...

      As far as this is concerned:
      His WHIP was a little high, at 1.32
      Totall BABIP-driven, since his BABIP was .326. Normalize his WHIP for league average BABIP and you got 1.19. Not bad. Opportunity to buy low
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      I don't have the link but mlbtraderumors.com has the Twins signing Kazmir on their top 50 projections. they were right about 40% of the time last year so this will be fun to watch play out.
    1. DocBauer's Avatar
      DocBauer -
      Signing Kazmir has been one of my top wants even before the season ended. In fact, he was one of the pitchers available "on a flyer" I wanted the Twins to sign last off season and still surprised they didn't.

      With all due respect to talent and opinion, and while I'll be excited and hopeful about any additions the Twins make/sign to improve, I have difficulty laying out $12M plus for some of this years FAP options and some of their accompanying caveats.

      Kazmir at 2 and $8+, even up to $10M makes sense to me. I'd be willing for some sort of 3rd year option as well. Past trak record, age, re-discovery of self and being LHP all make this a smart sign.

      Now, Hughes at $8-10 or Johnson for similar plus some bonus gives us the best 1-2 punch we've had in some time without breaking the bank or tying up huge payroll for long terms. And there is still money left over for C help and hopefully a useful LHP hitting spare INF.

      Lastly, a million (maybe 2) and a little incentive bonus for Johan or Colby Lewis for this years possible surprise turn around would finish things off nicely.

      Kazmir is the start for me.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      I'll bet Kazmir gets more than anyone is predicting. But it should be from the Twins. An overpay on a two year gamble will not hurt this team in the long run. Nor in the short run, really.
    1. jmlease1's Avatar
      jmlease1 -
      I would like both Kazmir & Hughes, both on 2-3 year deals. They should get between $8-10M each and I think the Twins should be willing to pay it. The questions are, will either be looking for a 4 year deal and should the Twins go that long on them, and will demand create a market where they can command contracts in the $10-12M range? Much tougher questions.

      I think I would be willing to go as high as $11-12M on Kazmir on a 2 year deal. (less on Hughes, even though I think he'd be a great fit for the Twins) It's probably too much risk to go that high on a 3 or 4 year deal, considering his history.

      I have to say, I'd feel a lot better about the Twins next season if their rotation was Kazmir, Gibson, Hughes, Correia, and Diamond/Deduno/Worley. Sure, there's no "ace" in that group (especially since "ace" seems to now be defined as "guy who is listed as someone who can win the Cy Young before the season starts") but it is a crew that could throw a lot of innings, miss more bats that previous years, and keep the team in games.

      I hope the Twins can sell themselves to Kazmir. Despite the bad last few years, there are a bunch of things to like about coming here: Target Field (both as an awesome ballpark and a good place to pitch), a stable franchise, a lot of young hitting talent in the pipeline, and Joe Mauer. Hopefully, this is where Gardy's rep as a player's manager helps sell a guy on coming here.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      2 years for Kazmir.
      4 years for Hughes.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      I having been hoping they sign Kazmir. There are many other pitchers not to take a chance on, he is worth it. Might go even a little over $10 million a year if only 2 years are guaranteed. Would like a third year club option, but might not be doable.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      The Twins should go after Kazmir very hard with a multi year offer. He is turning 30. His fastball is back to 2007 levels, which makes me think that the time off was crucial in healing and he is ok health-wise right now. Plus, the Twins do not have any top of the rotation lefty starter prospects above the Rookie leagues. They need a lefty in the rotation. And I'd rather not see Diamond pitch again...

      As far as this is concerned:


      Totall BABIP-driven, since his BABIP was .326. Normalize his WHIP for league average BABIP and you got 1.19. Not bad. Opportunity to buy low
      Since he is a southpaw I would give Kazmir a 2 year (up to 25mill) deal. I wouldn't give him a 3rd year (2016) since by then the cavalry should be arriving.

      Kazmir scares me with his WHIP which is high--yes it is driven by BABIP--but remember its the Twins defense we are talking about--until Hicks and Buxton get here--with the possible exception of Florimon--nobody is average or better on defense--our pitchers will be having high BABIP against them.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Kazmir makes sense on many levels.
    1. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
      Siehbiscuit -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      I'll bet Kazmir gets more than anyone is predicting. But it should be from the Twins. An overpay on a two year gamble will not hurt this team in the long run. Nor in the short run, really.
      This is right on! Overpay by a million or two annually to insure that he comes to the Twins. If he can show that he now has learned how to pitch and stay healthy, its a steal. Worst case, the Twins took a risky gamble and he fails miserably. At least its a short term deal that will not handcuff the organization.

      And for those that want Hughes vs Kazmir, why? Everyone is entitled to their opinion, so I don't mean to sound rude. Just don't understand this train opf thought. Kazmir has at least proven it as a starter before. Hughes is also an elite prospect, but has never produced great numbers as a starter. He seems like a bigger gamble, unless its also a 1 or 2 year deal. I'm interested to hear why the Hughes-lovers prefer him to Kazmir.
    1. halfchest's Avatar
      halfchest -
      Quote Originally Posted by Siehbiscuit View Post
      and for those that want Hughes vs Kazmir, why? Everyone is entitled to their opinion, so I don't mean to sound rude. Just don't understand this train opf thought. Kazmir has at least proven it as a starter before. Hughes is also an elite prospect, but has never produced great numbers as a starter. He seems like a bigger gamble, unless its also a 1 or 2 year deal. I'm interested to hear why the Hughes-lovers prefer him to Kazmir.
      I can't say I prefer Hughes over Kazmir necessarily but maybe a little insight. Hughes has been healthy at least over the past few years with around 30 starts in 3 of last 4 years. His ERA is close to a full run less away from Yankee Stadium. He's given up almost double the homers in Yankee Stadium than away in close to the same innings over his career. It's been stated before but his fly ball tendencies might play really nice in Target Field. Especially if we've got an outfield of Buxton/Hicks/Rosario/Arcia by the end of 2014.

      His ERA was also driven up last year due to a high BABIP. He might be a really nice buy low option for the Twins due to these factors.

      I say go get 'em both on 2-3 year deals. Both should be affordable enough and wouldn't hamstring the organization.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      The Lincecum deal is informative. I really, really doubt that Kazmir is going for less than $10 million a year.
    1. pierre75275's Avatar
      pierre75275 -
      I would be absolutely thrilled if the twins would sign this guy and Tanaka. That would make this offseason a huge success. ..in my opinion. If they dont sign Kazmir they are counting on Albers and Diamond. That wont cut it.
    1. twinstalker's Avatar
      twinstalker -
      Check out his stats versus teams other than the Twins. They're not good, as the Twins were 20% of his starts.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.