Houston Astros: Would it be smart for the team to re-sign Scott Kazmir?
The Houston Astros are at a crossroad as what to do in the offseason to build another playoff team in 2016. They will be looking at the current 40-man roster and decide what needs that they have to address while protecting certain players from the Rule V draft in December. One thing that the Astros have to decide about is whether they will re-sign left-hander Scott Kazmir? Yes, the native Houstonian, who made his homecoming with the home team following a trade from the Oakland Athletics prior to the MLB trade deadline.
The first thing most Astros fans will say is that Jeff Luhnow should offer Kazmir a qualifying offer so that the Astros could get a draft pick if they lose Kazmir to another team. But according to Buster Olney’s Tweet below, if the Athletics retained Kazmir, they could have received a draft pick if he were to sign with another team. However, the trade to the Astros could have given more teams a chance to sign him because there will not be a compensation pick attached to Kazmir. In other words, the Astros are not allowed to offer a qualifying offer to receive a draft pick. I think that Luhnow traded for Kazmir as a true rental, but they could still sign him.
What does this mean for the chances of retaining Kazmir? It means that the Astros will have to compete with higher bids for the lefty who struggled with the Astros down the stretch. He was in the middle of his best season of his career while with the Athletics and for two starts with the Astros, but then Kazmir started struggling on the mound. He was acquired soon enough by the Astros to make two starts in July for them. As you can see by the Tweet below that Kazmir was dominant in July, only allowing one earned run in five starts between the A’s and Astros. He struck out 24 hitters in 34 innings and got two wins.
Overall, Kazmir had a hard luck 7-11 record/ 3.10 ERA/ 155 strikeouts in 183 innings, which is pretty decent for what Kazmir is, a number three pitcher in a good rotation. Taking a deeper look at Kazmir’s monthly stats from Baseball-Reference, you will see that Kazmir had some ups and downs, with his lowest point being down the stretch in September and October. However, he also struggled in May after an excellent
Should the Astros re-sign him, they will be looking at his stats as a whole. Kazmir played the last season of his contract in 2015 earning $11 million dollars last year. He should get a two-three year deal with his new team of about $14-$15 million dollars per season. The price might be driven up by whichever team signs him by the competition without the draft pick attached to a qualifying offer. The question that you are probably asking yourself, do the Astros need to re-sign Kazmir? Let’s take a look at the candidates for the rotation without Kazmir.
They will have plenty of options in house right now, with Velasquez getting the first opportunity to rejoin the rotation. There are also several external options such as Jordan Zimmerman and David Price, both possibly long shots to join the Astros. It’s too soon to start looking at who will be available for the Astros as the playoffs are still ongoing.
If you what an actual prediction from me on whether he will re-sign with the Astros, I would say no. While it’s possible that Kazmir appreciated playing in Houston and signs at a lower cost, but I think other teams will see his value to help get them to the playoffs. Johnny Cueto and David Price are in the same predicament as Kazmir, so it’s fair to say that the other two would be the priority for top teams. The same teams could see Kazmir as a cheaper fall-back option.
Personally, I would be okay with either outcome. If they re-sign him, it will be nice to watch him pitch for the next 2-3 years. However, I’m looking forward to seeing Appel finally get the opportunity to pitch for the Astros. Following the World Series, more information should start to emerge, until then and beyond read CTH for all the offseason Astros moves and buzz.
Next: After further review, the Houston Astros’ first baseman A.J. Reed is pretty good