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Angels stick with Scott Kazmir despite MLB-worst 6.92 ERA

Jul 15, 2010, 10:44 AM EDT

Scott Kazmir has the highest ERA in baseball among pitchers with at least 50 innings this season, allowing 71 earned runs in 92 frames for a ghastly 6.92 mark. In his final start of the first half Saturday he allowed a franchise-record 13 runs in five innings against an Oakland lineup that ranks among the AL’s worst, making him 0-4 with a 13.72 ERA in his last four outings.
And despite all of that, the Angels are sticking with him in the rotation to begin the second half. Kazmir will start Tuesday against the Yankees in New York, which sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
Kazmir’s struggles date back to last year, when he had a 5.92 ERA in 20 starts for the Rays and showed decreased velocity, averaging a career-low 90.5 miles per hour with his fastball. He pitched well in six starts down the stretch before struggling in the playoffs, but the Angels’ decision to trade infielder Sean Rodriguez and pitching prospect Alex Torres for Kazmir was highly questionable at the time and looks downright terrible now.
Kazmir is making $8 million this season and is still owed $12 million next season plus $13.5 million or a $2.5 million buyout in 2012. Rodriguez has a decent .726 OPS as the Rays’ part-time second baseman and Torres is thriving at Double-A as a 22-year-old. In other words, unless pitching coach Mike Butcher can work some kind of miracle with Kazmir the trade is only going to look worse and worse for the Angels.

  1. t ball - Jul 15, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    As a Rangers fan I’m hoping they stick with Kazmir all the way.

  2. Gamboni Mafia - Jul 15, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    As a Rays fan, I couldn’t be any happier about this trade. At the time of the trade, I was disappointed for several reasons. He was the face of the franchise at the time. The ace of our staff for 3 years at that point. Seemingly starting to pitch better. A very tactful, humble, and highly respectful gentleman seemingly. When he left he wrote a letter that was published in the newspaper the following day saying how he loved living here and how the fans were so nice and how much he’d miss playing with the Rays. With that said I’m pretty shocked he’s been pitching so terrible. I was hoping he’d bounce back and at least become a good contact pitcher. It seems there’s no hope for poor Kaz.

  3. BC - Jul 15, 2010 at 12:23 PM

    He’s definitely helping me get over the Zambrano trade.

  4. Simon DelMonte - Jul 15, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    I never thought that was the worst trade ever made, or that Duquette – yes, it was Jim Duqutte and not Phillips by that point – really deserves to be raked over the coals for it. Clearly, people within the organization knew or suspected something about Kazmir. That doesn’t mean that acquiring Zambrano was a smart move, but I appreciate why that move was made.

  5. Dan in Katonah - Jul 15, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    Sorry, you are wrong. Maybe not as bad as sending Seaver away, but at the time: 1) they were out of the race, 2) trading away what was the crown jewel of the farm system; and 3) getting back a crappy pitcher who led the AL in walks 2 years running. Utterly and completely indefensible. Even if you did not want to keep him, get back something, anything of value. Obviously it was a pathetic Hail Mary by a GM listening with rose-colored glasses(?) to his pitching coach and trying to save his job with no regard for the team’s future. And as Gamboni stated above, he was the ace of the Rays staff for 3 years afterwards.
    Definitely the worst trade by the Mets in the last 20 years.

  6. frightwig - Jul 15, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    Actually, the Mets missed out on 4 strong seasons by Kazmir (2005-08) before he started to decline–probably due to arm wear/injury. Even if they had some reason to suspect that he was likely to break down eventually, they really jumped the gun on getting rid of him, and of course they should have received better value in return even when they did deal him. He was one of the top prospects in the game at the time, wasn’t he?

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