Much has been made of Scott Kazmir’s struggles this season as his career continues to fall faster than BJ Upton’s trade value. So we guess it was only a matter of time until somebody tried to argue that the trade that brought Kazmir to the Rays wasn’t that bad. Enter Jeff Pearlman of SI.com…
While Duquette was certainly foolish to take on Zambrano, his worries about Kazmir have, by and large, proven true. At the time of the deal, Kazmir boosters were comparing the youngster to another Ron Guidry…Truth is, when the Mets brass watched Kazmir throw, they often saw another Bud Smith, a slight St. Louis left-hander who, as a rookie phenom in 2001, went 6-3 while tossing a no-hitter. Smith was briefly the talk of baseball, but after pitching terribly early in 2002, he was traded to Philadelphia and never heard from again. He was small, he was left-handed — and he broke down.
Yes, Scott Kazmir has had a nice career. But nice is often misleading. Now in his seventh full season, Kazmir has never posted an ERA lower than 3.48, has never won more than 13 games and has only thrown one complete game — in 2006…Now, with his velocity down, his once-potent slider nonexistent and his ERA a major league-worst 6.92, Kazmir has been placed on the disabled list by an organization perplexed and befuddled by a should-be ace…”Looking at video, I can’t even tell if that’s me out there,” Kazmir recently told ESPN. “It’s getting a little out of control”…In other words, the man has broken down. He will likely never be Ron Guidry or, for that matter, the Scott Kazmir of four years ago.
We guess Pearlman’s point is that the trade wasn’t that bad because Kazmir isn’t as good as Ron Guidry.
There are a couple of problems with that line of thought. First is that Kazmir actually compares quite favorably with Guidry…
Of course, Kazmir never went 25-3 with a 1.74 ERA. But if Kaz had pitched for the Yankees in 2006-2007 instead of the Devil Rays, he probably would have won 20 at least once.
And second, who cares if Kazmir is not on a path to a great career? And why does it matter that Kaz is a mess now? Pearlman can’t just ignore that Kazmir was a productive pitcher for several years after the trade.
As Rob Neyer points out, Kazmir gave the Rays $70.5 million worth of production for about $10.5 million in salary. Victor Zambrano gave the Mets about $5 million in production and zero World Series titles.
We don’t care if Kazmir gets arrested tomorrow for running a cock fighting ring and never pitches another game. The Kazmir-Zambrano trade was decidedly one-sided.