Dave Cameron of ESPN.com takes a look at some of the best and worst August (post-deadline) trades in recent memory. Among the worst? The Rays sending Scott Kazmir to the Angels last season for Sean Rodriguez, Alex Torres and Matt Sweeney (click here to see the entire list)…

This one was regrettable. The Angels inherited the remainder of Kazmir’s bloated salary hoping that he would find his previous velocity — but he’s been downright terrible since joining the team. In addition to paying him $8 million this year, the Angels are on the hook for $12 million in salary next season plus a $2.5 million buyout of his 2012 option after the season ends. All told, they’ll end up paying more than $25 million for Kazmir, who has pitched about as well as a random Triple-A arm.

Even if Sweeney turns out to be a bust (he is hitting .196/.263/.276 in 46 double-A games), Kazmir would probably still have to return to his All-Star status in 2011 and 2012 just to justify the salary the Angels are paying.

Alex Torres has pitched to a 3.40 ERA and 106 strikeouts and 51 walks in 103.1 innings (20 starts) at double-A Montgomery.

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22 Comments

  1. Beth says:

    I'm glad the trade worked out for the Rays, but I certainly feel no joy in watching the decline of Scott Kazmir. For a few years, he was one of the few bright spots on the Devil Rays. I used to time my visits to the Trop so I could see him pitch. Too bad.

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  2. Joe D. says:

    Obviously the only of the trade pieces I've seen much is Sean Rodriguez, and the thing that I've been surprised by is that he seems to have much higher ceiling than I anticipated. From the power that he displayed in spring, to picking up several positions, and even just being the best bunter on the team, watching him he keeps impressing me, and showing more potential. I like most others I believe, syil think that Torres is the 'gem' of the trade. Not to mention the salary that the Rays dumped... Andrew Friedman is a man amongst children!

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  3. Gus says:

    The Rays have come out well, but it was not without some cost to them (and with some short-run benefit to the Angels). The Angels did make the playoffs and I thought Kazmir pitched reasonably well for them in 2009 (as I recall); the trade demoralized the Rays, and Sonanstine got bombed in Kazmir's spot in the rotation against Boston in the game that sealed the deal for the Rays playoffs hopes in 2009.

    To a franchise like the Angels, Kazmir's salary isn't a killer; they can take a flyer on him. To a franchise like the Rays, it is an anchor (a lesson which they should remember when it comes time to deal with some of the starters on this staff).

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    • I will still argue that no matter how this trade turns out in the "History of Baseball"... the Rays management waived the flag on the 2009 season. In retrospect, it worked out. But, I don't look forward to a time when they do it again and it doesn't.

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      • Jim says:

        Even after the trade, I thought the Rays still had a shot until Pena broke his hand. It seemed like after he went down, the team just folded.

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      • Stephanie says:

        The timing of the trade sure made it seem like they were waiving the white flag, but Friedman really had no choice. They had to get out from under that contract and this was the best chance they were going to get.

        It's amazing that the Rays not only managed to dump Kazmir's contract, but also managed to get some good value in return.

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        • John S says:

          Agreed.. we play by different rules as compared to everyone else..

          I would rather be a winning team in contention every year for 6 years, then to throw a wrench in well-oiled machine of producing pitchers and go for a championship one year and then finish with a losing record for a couple years without contending for anything and everyone jumps ship. Several months ago Keith Law mentioned that Rays pitching depth in the minors is so deep that our 7th rated pitcher (Torres) could an organization's #1 pitching prospect for at least half the league. When you actually think about it that way it that is amazing. And was before McGee has started to return fully from TJ Surgery. With us having a pitching monopoly, we can charge premiums that people have to accept. Can you imagine what we are going to get for either Garza or Shields. I mean we can have our choice of blue-chips prospects or a very good everyday player that is young and not expensive.

          And an organization like that can not afford a losing record with its meek fanbase. The Rays continue to have over .500 records and contend, there fan base will continue to grow.

          I would rather do it this way. I believe the Pena injury was a larger factor than what people are giving credit for.

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  4. Joe D. says:

    '09 was over before out started, as soon as the Rays had as Maddon called it "dig me" week, not to mention a staff of young pitchers that were coming off of a season with as many innings as they pitched.

    I won't even go any more in to it than just saying the name, Pat Burrell...

    Rays had no shot last year, had nothing to do with the Kaz trade....

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  5. TBGriot says:

    Let's not forget that Wade Davis's 6 starts with the Rays compare favorably to Kazmirs ("lucky") 6 starts with the Angels. This was the right trade both at the time and with hindsight and at a certain point "waving the flag" is just when you stop deluding yourself into thinking you have a shot

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    • Gus says:

      Of course, they didn't put Davis into the Kazmir slot until Boston had the chance to end their season with Andy the Dandy on the hill. And I'm pretty sure Kazmir was their best pitcher in August of 2009 (hard to fathom now, but he had strung together some good starts after the All-Star break, albeit agonizing to watch as always).

      But 3 games out with a month to play with the team ahead of you coming to your building the next week didn't seem delusional for the defending league champions. It was a bold move that is coming up roses for them this year (and possibly seasons to come). But it had its costs last year.

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      • Mike says:

        Yeah, we only finished 11 games back in the wild card. I'm sure Kaz could've made up the difference on his own. I wish we kept him and then got to pay him 25 more million for the next two years. Then we could've just not bothered with Soriano and have Elliot Johnson as our backup infielder. It would've been worth it just to not "throw up the white flag"

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        • Gus says:

          They chose to give up last year to fight another day. But they were 3 games out when the Kazmir trade went down and promptly went on a nasty losing streak that in my mind was related to management giving up on them (they had stood pat in July at the trade deadline).

          The Kazmir trade also occured the day after a particularly painful bullpen implosion in Toronto -- all the events were related. But to say management didn't pull the plug on the season with the Kazmir trade is dead wrong -- it did. To say whether it was justified at the time is a close question. To say the 2010 team is reaping the benefits of the trade is an absolute truth.

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          • MJ says:

            Why do you say that, when Kazmir hadn't pitched well at all for over a year at that point? He was not earning his salary, and had been a poor pitcher for quite some time at that point. They had to maximize his value. it didn't have anything to do w/ pulling the plug on last year, as they felt they could get the same production from someone else.

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    • MJ says:

      Agreed, i didn't view it as waiving the white flag like most people in tampa bay did. Was no one watching Kazmir the last 1.5 yrs before that trade? He started to suck long before we traded him. It was def the right trade at the time. If FO would have waited any longer, who knows if any team would have bit on Kazmir. While Sonny did pitch terribly, people that say the Kazmir deal was "waiving the white flag" are just trying to tie a specific event to the fact that last years team was just not that good.

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  6. Kevin says:

    I would have given Kazmir away just to get out from under the contract. To get good players back in return was amazing. Kaz should reinvent himself as a setup man...and maybe he can be a closer one day.

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  7. zenny says:

    Amazing that Scotty K. was involved in two of the best (if not THE two best) trades in franchise history. A few things:

    1) Trading Kazmir did NOT "throw up the white flag" last year. He wasn't very good last year, and it was reasonable to assume that Sonny could do just as well given his performance in 2008. Of course, Andy didn't perform very well at all, but it wasn't crazy to think that he could have done the job. Hindsight is 20/20.

    2) Given his madding inconsistency, the Rays absolutely could not afford to pay him that contract. It looked like a good deal when he signed it, as it's a bit less than the going rate for an ace starter. However, Scotty was far from an ace last year, and he hadn't even put together an ace-like run since June of '08. This franchise has to try to underpay for talent; it can't possibly afford to overpay and still win. (See Burrell, Pat and Show, Hit.)

    3) All that being said, it's sad to see Kazmir still suffering through the same old overthinking and underconfidence. He had the stuff to be a fantastic starter, and he seems like a good kid. And he is still a kid. I hope he gets it back together and has a good career, but in the NL, please. Maybe he and Aubrey Huff (and Carl Crawford???) can lead the Astros to a pennant some year...

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  8. Mike says:

    Kaz was and still is my favorite all time devil ray. He is the second best player we have ever had (although Longo and Price may change that) and I will always remember him that way. I am still disappointed that we traded him and always will be. Hopefully he gets back on track and starts striking everyone out again like he did in 07. When Kid K is on, he is one of the best pitchers in baseball.

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    • Don says:

      You ought to be at comedy club........your funny man....
      Kazmir sucks....when the Rays unloaded and now!

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      • Michael says:

        That might be the most intelligent post Don has ever made on this board!

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      • Huey Lewis says:

        Seriously Don. First time you have ever made a legible post that actually has some modicum of intelligence. Good job!!!!!

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  9. Rick says:

    Kaz is the type of guy that you hope has a good career. Seemed to be a very nice and likable person. As far as favorite all time Ray, gotta be Carl Crawford. Right?

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