The Kazmir Trade: A Financial Decision?

Daniel CarmichaelContributor IAugust 29, 2009

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 14:  Pitcher Scott Kazmir #19 of the Tampa Bay Rays shows off his 2008 AL championship ring before play  against the New York Yankees April 14, 2009 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Little did Scott Kazmir know when he came to the Devil Rays organization in 2004, that he would become the face of the franchise. In such a short time, no less. That same year, he would pitch in eight games for the big league club, getting knocked around a little but gaining experience. By 2007, at 23 years old, he would become the American League strikeout king while winning 13 games. The few that actually made the trek to the "Trop", did so to see "Kaz" throw heat. He endured last place teams in each of his first three full seasons in the majors before finally reaching the World Series in an improbable 2008 season. So, why is he gone?

The trade makes sense on paper, Kazmir struggled mightily in 2009. His 5.92 ERA is easily the highest of his career and his high pitch counts rarely let him see the 6th inning. After the All-Star break, however, he seemed to settle down a bit, posting a 4.41 ERA and going 4-2. The prospects that the team are receiving are promising, but are a couple of years from being Major League ready by any account. With September looming, why is he gone?

Kazmir is owed $20 million dollars over the next two seasons, a bargain for a top of the rotation starter. With many budget decisions looming for the organization, however, the financial aspect seems to be the most likely culprit of Scott's departure. He signed a 3-year, $28.5 million contract in May of 2008, a short time ago. Is that why Scott Kazmir is gone?