The Los Angeles Angels Should Consider A Scott Kazmir Reunion
by James Lumalu | Posted on Thursday, November 28th, 2013
The Los Angeles Angels have been busy early this offseason. They addressed their need for a third baseman by acquiring David Freese, and signed reliever Joe Smith to a three-year deal worth $15.75MM.
However their biggest need still remains starting pitching. Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards are all locked in as starters for next season, leaving two slots open.
The Angels have around $8MM left in the bank to spend on free agents before hitting the $189MM luxury tax threshold. Obviously that isn’t enough money to spend on two pitchers, so presumably one arm will come through free agency and another via trade.
One intriguing name out in the market is left hander Scott Kazmir. The Angels worked out a deal for Kazmir back in 2009, sending utility infielder Sean Rodriguez, pitcher Alex Torres and infielder Matt Sweeney to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Initially Kazmir pitched very well to end the 2009 season, but he struggled mightily in 2010 with a 5.94 ERA and was eventually released early in 2011. Known for being a hard thrower, Kazmir saw his velocity dip all the way down to the mid 80’s before his eventual release. He ended up sitting out the 2012 MLB season and pitched for the Sugar Land Skeeters in the Independent Atlantic League.
Kazmir returned to the majors in 2013 and had a renaissance with the Cleveland Indians. He finished the year tallying a 2.5 fWAR and 4.04 ERA, with a 3.36 xFIP. His success correlates to the return of his velocity, which averaged out around 92MPH.
Of course the Angels might not want to take the risk with Kazmir again, but all the pitchers on their radar are not without faults. As per Jim Bowden, the Angels have expressed interest in pitchers Bartolo Colon and Bronson Arroyo.
Bartolo Colon was excellent for the Oakland Athletics in 2013, finishing the year with a sparkling 2.65 ERA and 3.9 fWAR. However, his xFIP was 3.95, indicating he may not have been as good as that ERA suggests. Also, Colon will be turning 41 years old next season. How much more does he have in the tank before the wheels fall off?
Bronson Arroyo has been a very solid innings eater during his eight years with the Cincinnati Reds. The concern with Arroyo is that he became very home run prone in 2013 with a 1.43 HR/9 rate. Switching over to the more offensive oriented American League could provide problems for Arroyo, and offset whatever benefits he may receive from pitching in Angels Stadium.
The Angels started fast this offseason, but their most important work has yet to be done. How they round out the rest of their rotation will be the ultimate key for a successful 2013.