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Houston Astros: What now in the post-Scott Kazmir era?

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Houston native, Scott Kazmir, will be calling Los Angeles his baseball home next season while the Houston Astros now have one less option for the starting rotation.

At the end of the day, the chances of the Houston Astros retaining Scott Kazmir‘s services always seemed to be low, especially when considering the going rate of free agent starters on the open market. That became even more apparent after the agreed-to contract between the left-hander and the Dodgers became public knowledge.

No wonder the Astros appeared lukewarm at best regarding the possibility of bringing back Kazmir. $16 million per season, opt out after year one or not, seems like a steep price for a pitcher who has faded throughout the second half of the past two seasons (4.03 FIP in 2014, 4.76 FIP in 2015). Even though it was only a three-year commitment if the opt out isn’t exercised, the potential money involved was just too much for a team that prefers to maintain financial flexibility.

The Astros will now have to move on and search for other options for the rotation. Doug Fister, most recently of the Washington Nationals, might be a good fit considering he may be looking for a short-term deal to build up his value for next year’s free agency period. He would be a decent stopgap while the Astros wait for Chris Devenski or Joseph Musgrove to develop in the minors.

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Let’s not forget that general manager Jeff Luhnow and the front office seem to be in on free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo. But the catch with Gallardo is the draft pick compensation attached to him, which would go to the Texas Rangers. So, yeah, that is not a good scenario at first glance for the Astros. Maybe Wei-Yin Chen could be an option if the Astros owner Jim Crane decides to open up the pocketbook. The odds are slim, however, that the former Oriole will find himself in Houston. There haven’t been any notable rumors linking him to the Astros…yet.

At the end of the day, Kazmir ended up being handsomely rewarded. Nothing wrong with that. And while the results weren’t what everyone expected, the Houston native provided the team with some great highlights of its most successful season in a decade. And the Astros still have plenty of options for the rotation. Whether that means staying inside the organization, like Scott Feldman, or looking outside, remains to be seen.

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Who knows, maybe it is time for Luhnow to go bargain bin hunting again. After all, isn’t that how the team got quite a few players that are on the 25-man roster now?

**Statistics provided by Fangraphs**

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