Scott Kazmir failed to live up to expectations after the Houston Astros acquired him at the 2015 trade deadline, and the lefty decided to make those struggles a thing of the past by bolting for the Los Angeles Dodgers in free agency.
Kazmir spoke about the deal on his Twitter account after the announcement:
What a great day to officially be a Dodger! Happy birthday to my lefty idol Sandy Koufax!— Scott Kazmir (@scottkazmir19) December 30, 2015
Joel Sherman of the New York Post provided some thoughts on the signing from tactical and financial perspectives:
Kazmir is 15th fr agt guaranteed at least $20M this offseason. Just 2 are position players. Both signed by #Cubs (Heyward, Zobrist)— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 30, 2015
A three-time All-Star, Kazmir sputtered with the Astros after a terrific first half with the A's. Although he went just 5-5 before getting dealt, he posted a 2.38 ERA that would have ranked as the lowest mark of his career (minimum 10 starts) had it spanned the course of the regular season.
But once Kazmir moved to a new locale, his numbers took a turn for the worse.
"I mean personally, me, very disappointed," Kazmir said of his half-season with the Astros on Sept. 29, per the Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich. "Just on recently just not contributing like I wanted to. Of course, being a competitor (you feel that way)."
Now Kazmir will hope that a fresh start shifts his numbers back toward the more productive end of his personal spectrum. And considering he's only a season removed from his last All-Star selection, the 31-year-old should have plenty of gas left in the tank.
The second half of his 2015 season undeniably tarnished what once looked like a potential career-year, but if Kazmir can return to form, that poor three-month stretch will wind up looking like an anomaly on an otherwise solid resume.
The Dodgers badly needed to bolster their rotation after seeing Zack Greinke leave for Arizona. Clayton Kershaw can hide a lot of problems on his own, but depth is so important over a 162-game season.
Kazmir isn't at the level of Greinke, though he's hardly a bad alternative. The 31-year-old has proven himself to be reliable with at least 29 starts each of the last three years with his ERA total going from 4.04 in 2013 to 3.10 last year.
The Dodgers can slot Kazmir in behind Kershaw and ahead of Brett Anderson to give the rotation a solid trio at the top. They are also going to get reinforcements during the year when Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu return, so things aren't as dire in Los Angeles as they once seemed.