The Oakland Athletics have signed left-handed starter Scott Kazmir to a two-year deal, according to Ken Rosenthal reported. Jim Bowden of ESPN confirmed that Kazmir will be paid $22 million over the two years.
Mets fans will remember Kazmir as the prospect who was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for Victor Zambrano, in what is considered one of the greatest front-office gaffes in team history. Kazmir enjoyed success in Tampa, leading the American League in strikeouts in 2007 and amassing 15.2 fWAR during his five full seasons with the Rays.
In 2008, he began to have elbow trouble, which followed him into 2009, causing him to miss parts of both seasons. At the end of the 2009 season, he was traded to the Angels, where arm troubles continued, and in 2012 he left Major League Baseball. Last season, Kazmir returned to the majors by signing a one-year, minor-league deal with the Indians, and he posted a 4.04 ERA and 3.51 FIP over 29 starts.
Kazmir was on some fans' radar as a potential back-of-the-rotation starter; as the Mets will likely need two pitchers to fill out their 2014 rotation. Kazmir's deal, however, shows that the market for starting pitching may be a bit inflated. Back in October, our own Paul Goebel suggested that Kazmir would likely get somewhere around $8 million per season. With that in mind, the Mets may begin to start looking towards internal candidates if the team can't find a suitable pitcher at a lower price.