New York Yankees: Should the Yankees Take a Chance on Scott Kazmir?

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2011

Scott Kazmir in better times, namely his outstanding 2007 season
Scott Kazmir in better times, namely his outstanding 2007 seasonDoug Pensinger/Getty Images

According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, or Anaheim Angels or the Mighty Ducks (or whatever they are calling themselves today) are on the verge of releasing 27-year-old lefty Scott Kazmir.

Kazmir, as some may remember, was the crown jewel of the New York Mets farm system in 2003 and 2004. That was until he was traded in one of the worst deals in recent memory, when the Mets dealt him to the Tampa Bay Rays for Victor Zambrano.


A two-time All-Star, Kazmir was one of the most promising pitchers in baseball from 2006-2008, with an ERA consistently in the low threes. Said current Yankees manager Joe Girardi, then manager of the Florida Marlins: “He’s got great stuff and he knows how to pitch. He’s proved that already. He’s as good as anyone in baseball.”

Kazmir has a history of arm injuries, though none have been considered overly serious.

A former AL strikeout champion (he led the league in 2007 with 239), he has fallen on hard times.

His once electric fastball now tops out around 90 MPH, and his slider, which once had nasty movement, seems to be flat and straight.

This year with the Angels' Triple-A affiliate Salt Lake, Kazmir is 0-5 with an almost unbelievable 17.02 ERA.

In 15.1 innings, he has allowed 30 runs, 22 hits, walked 20 and only struck out 14.

But he is only 27 years old. He's a lefty who has had success in the major leagues before, namely in the American League East.

Perhaps a change of scenery and a new approach would straighten him out.

Should the Angels decide to cut ties with the grossly overpaid Kazmir (he is earning $12.5 million this season), it certainly couldn't hurt the Yankees to pick him up and see what their coaches could do with him.

Left-handed starters don't grow on trees and Kazmir, if he was able to right the ship, could be a "game-changer" in the race for the AL East pennant.