Scott Kazmir has never pitched a major league game for the New York Mets. We’ve had our chances though. Where Kazmir is concerned, we’ve had more chances than most. Where would the team be if during this off-season, we had devoted our earliest FA money to signing Kazmir?
All Met fans know the sordid story of how we parted ways with Kazmir (our first round pick “15th overall” in 2002) in the ill-fated deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the trading deadline in 2004. Whether the fault resided in GM, Jim Duquette, or then-Mets’ Pitching Coach, Rick Peterson, or Jeff Wilpon with special assistance from John Franco and Al Leiter, what matters is that the deal was made and we parted ways with Kazmir.
After several successful seasons, the Rays dealt Kazmir to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in August of 2009. Kazmir’s career, however, took a turn for the worse on the West Coast, and he went 11-15 with a 5.31 ERA in parts of three seasons with the Angels. On June 15, 2011, the Angels released him.
Kazmir spent the rest of 2011 pitching in independent leagues attempting to regain his form. In February of 2012, the Mets were one of the teams who sent scouts to see if Kazmir had, indeed, regained his form but he did not impress any club enough to sign him.
In 2012, Kazmir pitched for the Sugar Land Skeeters and in July pitched for them in a game against the Long Island Ducks in a game in Bethpage, New York. He continued to work on his performance in winter ball. The Mets scouted Kazmir during the winter of 2012 but again didn’t offer him a contract. Kazmir, however, showed enough improvement to gain a contract with the Cleveland Indians and signed a contract with them on December 21, 2012. Kazmir went 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA during the 2013 season with the Indians. On October 31, 2013. Kazmir again became a free agent.
The Mets signed Chris Young to a one-year deal on November 26, 2013 for $7.25 million dollars. A week later, on December 4, Kazmir signed a two-year deal with the Oakland Athletics worth $18 million dollars.
Young is hitting .197 with 4 HRs and 16 RBIs. He has a slash line of .278/.312/.590. Kazmir is 9-2 with a 2.08 ERA. He owns a .95 WHIP and an 80:20 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 15 starts for the A’s.
Granted, the team’s strength heading into the season was considered to be its starting pitching but the Mets still went out and signed Bartolo Colon to a two-year deal worth $20 million dollars on December 14th. I’ve got nothing against Colon’s performance but the possible buzz of an All-Star caliber performance this year by Kazmir at CitiField might have taken the fan’s minds off of the loss of Matt Harvey. Kazmir’s performance last year offered hope that he could contribute solidly for a few seasons. Kazmir’s age would still have offered hope that he could have been part of the team’s future.
Maybe the Mets and Kazmir might finally partner up again in 2016.