The Bay Rays, only three and a half games off the pace in the wild card, traded franchise pitcher, Scott Kazmir to the Angels for two prospects and a player to be named later. Manager Joe Madden hinted that he really liked the player not named so that part of the deal must already be worked out. The questions here are: What are the Angels getting in Kazmir and was it worth two good prospects? And: Does trading Kazmir hurt the Rays' chances in their wild card hunt?
What the Angels are getting isn't exactly clear. Kazmir hasn't had a good year and has spent time on the disabled list. But he does have really good career numbers and he has beaten both the Yankees and the Red Sox twice apiece this year. The Angels are sure to face one of those two teams in the playoffs.
But back to Kazmir's year this year. His strikeouts per nine innings statistic is the lowest of his career. His career average is 9.43 but this year, it's only 7.38. His strikeout to walk ratio is also the second worst of his career. He is still walking over four batters per nine innings as he has his whole career. For the first time in his career, Kazmir has given up more hits than innings pitched. The Fan checked the BABIP to see if that was simply a case of bad luck, but he's only been slightly unlucky and as such, his adjusted ERA is still over 5.80. All of these things seem to indicate that he isn't the pitcher--at least for this year--that he has been in the past.
There are three bright spots for the Angels concerning Kazmir (not including the Yankees/Red Sox record). First, he is relatively cheap with a $6 million salary this year, $10 million next year and $12 million the year after that. Secondly, believe it or not, he is only twenty-five years old! It seems like he has been around forever. The Fan didn't realize that he started as a nineteen year old. Lastly, the Angels can't do much worse than the starters they have already been using. Their starters are 24th in the majors in ERA at 4.96. So Kazmir (especially if he pitches like his last six starts) is going to be an upgrade.
The Bay Rays lose a weapon as they have six games remaining against each of the Red Sox and the Yankees. If a prospect is called up to take Kazmir's place in the rotation, those two clubs enjoy feasting on those types of pitchers. Plus, they lose one of the faces of their organization. Six years in that market has endeared him to the fans there and provided a bit of continuity throughout. On the plus side, they free up some salary that can help them keep some of the good young players they have. The team also has quite a few good pitching prospects and received another one from the Angels in the deal.
Kazmir was drafted by the Mets right out of high school, but in (retrospectively of course) one of the worst trades in history, sent him to the Bay Rays for Victor Zambrano. Zambrano went 10-14 for the Mets and is now out of baseball.