The Los Angeles Dodgers are putting together a solid rotation. Ace Clayton Kershaw is joined by veteran Rich Hill and phenom Julio Urias, in addition to Japanese sophomore Kenta Maeda. Scott Kazmir was signed an offseason ago on the expectation he’d be a piece of that group, but instead he’s an afterthought.

Kazmir finished 2016 10-6 with a 4.56 ERA and was left off the postseason roster. After steady showings for the A’s and Astros in 2015, he regressed mightily. In 63 less innings, Kazmir allowed one more homer while allowing only six fewer earned runs and an increased walk rate from 2.9 per nine innings to 3.4.

ESPN’s Buster Olney reported the Dodgers were shopping Kazmir in early December. Obviously the team has yet to find a taker, largely because of the two seasons and $32 million remaining on his deal.

Despite the underwhelming results, Kazmir could still be a contributor as a mid-to-bottom of the rotation option on a starter-starved team. That doesn’t mean he has any trade value though; in fact, he has very little. The problem goes beyond the money: Kazmir has logged 200 innings just once (as a 23-year-old in 2007) and has broken 190 innings just one time since 2008. He’s struggled with consistency, both in performance and health.

On the plus side, Kazmir’s strikeouts per nine ascended from 7.6 to 8.8, which is close to his 8.6 career average. There’s not much more positive outside of that. But even if his A’s performance was an over-achievement, if he can pitch as he did in Cleveland, he’s a serviceable rotation option.

A team such as San Diego, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Miami, Minnesota or the New York Yankees would benefit from a healthy Kazmir. Regardless of the funds available for the buying team, the Dodgers have to eat some of his contract. It’s better to admit a mistake than force him into action in an attempt to rectify it.

If Kazmir is on the roster come March, he’ll compete for a role on the team. Maybe he improves enough to hold a bullpen spot. Though unlikely, he could fight his way into the No. 5 slot of the rotation. Kazmir is almost guaranteed to pass through waivers if it came to that. Ultimately the Dodgers will see if he can build any semblance of value this spring while monitoring injuries and desperation, then move him before Opening Day.

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About The Author

News Desk

Gabe Burns is an award-winning journalist. He serves as a reporter and editor at the DodgersNation news desk. He additionally works as editor-in-chief of The Spectator, Valdosta State University's student paper. Gabe's work has been featured on a number of platforms, including Draft Breakdown and Pro Football Spot. His byline has been cited in media such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. Aside from covering Dodgers baseball, Gabe enjoys watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Orlando Magic and Tampa Bay Lightning. He can be followed on Twitter at @GabeBurns_DN.

13 Responses

  1. Jagman63

    This guy shows how inept the Dodger front office is. The team needs bull-pen help and do they sign Neftali Feiz, who only got 5.25 from Milwaukee, to shore up the 8th inning?? No! They, instead, sign broken down pitchers, that end up on  the disabled list and untradeable. When will people in LA wake up and realize that Firedman and Farty are the Abbot and Costello of Major League front office personnel???

    Reply
  2. pauldodgerfan1965

    Jagman63 I couldn’t agree with ya more!   Kazmir and McCarthy need to be dispatched NO MATTER WHAT!  They have absolutely no right whatsoever to be taking a roster spot from guys like JDL, Stewart and others!

    Reply
  3. pauldodgerfan1965

    Another thing to consider, it would not be wise for Dodgers to have 4 LHP in the rotation especially having them back to back to back in games.  Teams will catch up to them and it won’t look pretty.  I am so sick and tired of this unbalanced roster both in MLB and still somewhat in the minors with that plethora of LHB  there.

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  4. Skythomsen

    Jagman63 All of you so easily forget why and when Kazmir was signed. Kazmir was signed after Dodgers lost out on Greinke and falling out with Iwakuma after his medical exam. Urias (or Stewart, Stripling) were all unproven prospects. Lastly Maeda had yet to be signed. The Dodgers had the financial flexibility to sign a mid-rotation pitcher who was coming off of a decent year to a 3 yr $48M deal. Remember also, Cueto and Samardzija were already signed by Giants at outrageous deals. Dodgers had to sign some and Kazmir was best available.  I remember all this since the Royals badly needed sign starting pitchers after losing Cueto, and they probably would have signed Kazmir if the Dodgers hadn’t scooped him up.

    It’s just fortunate that Urias worked out better and earlier than expected, and well as strong early season pitching from Stripling and Stewart later on. Kazmir had nagging injuries but the good early showings by the prospects, allowed for more rest for Kamir.  I believe Kazmir’s biggest complaint last year was that he wasn’t given consistent opportunities to get into season long rhythm. Unfortunately, this might be more of the same of inconsistent starts and no clear role.

    McCarthy was signed as a pitching with frontline stuff but with history of injuries. The Dodgers had the financial might several years ago to gamble $10M AAV salary who may develop into #2 or #3 pitcher behind Kershaw.   We saw glmipse into what he could be last year before he couldn’t throw strikes. At this point he should be seen as a failed experiment but we’re fortunate to not need him.

    Reply
  5. yarritsblake

    The problem is outside of a handful of stud pitchers in the last two years, pretty much all of whom the Dodgers were pursuing or offered contracts to, the pitching class was either reliable in terms of health (with no reliability in terms of performance), or reliable in terms of consistency (with no consistency with health).  Greinke, Price, and Cueto were pretty much the primary aces that were had in the last two years.  It would have been nice to land Cueto at the price the Giants gave him, but from all the reports the Dodgers had a pretty good offer on the table and Cueto just preferred the Giants.

    Reply
  6. GeorgeInnes

    Both Kazmir and McCarthy are candidates for DFA, much like Carl Crawford.  Neither are good options for the bullpen, and neither can compete for the 5th spot in the rotation against the likes of Wood, Stripling, Stewart, and De Leon.  The Dodgers simply can’t afford two roster spots for players who contribute little to nothing.

    Reply
  7. Skythomsen

    Is there any way Kazmir or McCarthy + cash + a mid-level prospect could be traded to Brewers for Jonathan Villar? That would help our RH 2B problem without adding payroll or removing anyone from 40-man roster.  They were already interested in McCarthy and have Scooter Bennett at 2B. Villar hit .285/.369/.457 with OPS of .826 and 19 HRs. Numbers similar to Kinsler’s but he’s only 25.

    Reply
  8. DavidLyons1

    Skythomsen Jagman63 Package him with a Host of players on the roster.. and get ANYONE !

    Reply
  9. DavidLyons1

    GeorgeInnes Absolutely right George.. Get rid of them..

    Reply

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