2011 New York Mets: 5 Reasons Why the Mets Should Take a Chance on Scott Kazmir
Kazmir, most notably traded to the Rays for Victor Zambrano in 2004 (we’ll get to this later), has underwhelmed during his time with the Angels, most recently giving up six runs in 1 2/3 innings for Triple-A Salt Lake this past Tuesday during a minor league rehab assignment.
Los Angeles has placed Kazmir on release waiver and will be asked to eat the remaining $9.5 million left on his deal, making the new contract with his next team a team-friendly league minimum deal.
While Kazmir has struggled recently, he’s nowhere near a lost cause and here are five reasons the Amazin’s should take a chance on Kazmir by signing him once he clears through waivers.
1. He's a Young Left-Handed Pitcher
Still only 27-years-old, Scott Kazmir can’t be seen as a lost cause… yet.
Kazmir was the Mets first-round draft pick back in the 2002 draft and at the time of his trade, he was pitching well enough to become the team’s top pitching prospect.
Striking out 259 batters in his 203 inning minor league career with the Mets, Kazmir’s youth and willingness to again prove himself may be a good combination coupled with a breath of fresh air starting over in an organization he’s familiar with.
Kazmir still has time to rediscover himself at 27-years-old and with their lack of lefty options in the bullpen and rotation, the Mets should be willing to give him time to sort through his troubles.
2. Playoff Experience
Pitching a total of 36.1 innings in October and sporting a 5.20 ERA and 1.73 WHIP, Kazmir does have experience on his side.
His 26 strikeouts shows he can keep his composure in a big-game situation and if he can just get back to his durable mentality, Kazmir could be a steal for the Mets as they try to make a wild card run in 2011.
3. A Lack of Pitching Depth
God forbid another pitcher on the Mets’ Major League roster goes down to injury, then we’ll be in need of a viable candidate to fill the hole.
Sure D.J. Carrasco and Pat Misch fill the bill, but depth is an aspect sometimes over looked by many MLB teams.
Adding Kazmir to the minor league roster to work out his kinks would not only benefit the lack of pitching depth in Buffalo, but would also help shore up another emergency back-up plan in case a starter goes down.
GM Sandy Alderson has already set the precedence by signing a few inexpensive arms to fill out the roster in Chris Capuano, Chris Young and Taylor Buchholz, so adding Kazmir to the equation wouldn’t seem like a reach.
While Alderson has already gone on record to say of Kazmir, "We look at everybody who hits the wire, and the same would apply to (Kazmir),” there is a very good chance he’s looked into the matter and has already made his decision about which way the team will proceed.
4. Dan Warthen Can Fix Him
Dan Warthen is quickly becoming a key asset to the Mets’ pitching success as of late.
Many players have made it known that working with Warthen in side bullpen sessions has made it easier to transition their dominant stuff into games.
Warthen is also constantly trying to improve and tweak certain aspects of each pitcher’s game, most recently working with Pelfrey on his sinker and Niese on his changeup, and it’s obvious he could do a lot of good working with Kazmir who looks to be lost at times on the mound.
Warthen implants an aggressive mindset into each of his pitchers, telling them to go after hitters and walk less, and Kazmir seems like he would fit perfectly into what Danny Warthen has going this year with the Mets' pitching staff.
5. A Chance to Make Amends
If you’ve made it this far through this article, you obviously know who we are talking about here and who the Mets are considering signing.
THE Scott Kazmir.
The same guy the Mets traded in 2004 with Jose Diaz to the Devil Rays for Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunado.
The same Scott Kazmir who was the No. 1 Mets’ pitching prospect and went on to post a 3.64 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and 742 strikeouts in his first four seasons in the big leagues.
Yep, THAT Scott Kazmir.
Check any list of the worst trades in MLB history and I’m sure you’ll find Kazmir’s name somewhere on top. Many fans were outraged to when this deal went down, and frankly, I’m still a little annoyed about it to this day.
Now that the Mets have the opportunity to make amends for their poor decision-making, it’s time they take that chance.
Kazmir is not the same guy we saw tear it up for Tampa Bay, but with a little work (and luck, hope and maybe a miracle thrown in there) he could be back where it all began, throwing flame for our New York Mets.
Christopher Howland is a New York Mets Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He also is currently interning with Rotoworld.com of NBC Sports. Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisHowland5