When Los Angeles Angels' manager Mike Scioscia announced last Thursday that pitcher Scott Kazmir would open the season as a member of the starting rotation, he was asked by reporters whether or not Kazmir had earned the spot.
“Earned?” Scioscia said. “Define ‘earned.’”
Not exactly a stirring vote of confidence.
However, Kazmir, who struggled last season with a 9-15 record and a 5.94 ERA, is owed $14.5 million this season.
Considering what the Angels gave up in return for him, they are not quite ready to give up on the enigmatic southpaw right away.
However, the wait won’t be long.
The Angels have one of the better starting rotations in the American League with their top four pitchers (Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and Joel Pineiro).
But the last thing the Angels can afford is to wonder whether or not they’ll have struggles every fifth day with Kazmir on the mound.
"He's tried a lot of things, but there hasn't been one simple adjustment he's been able to make that has brought consistency," Scioscia told the Los Angeles Times. "We need it. He needs it. We're past the point of development. We need him to pitch the way he's capable of pitching."
If Kazmir is unable to right the ship and return to his form from 2006 to 2008, when he was one of the more dominant left-handed pitchers in baseball, the Angels will need to look for a dependable arm to replace him in the rotation.
Here are five options.
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