When Mets fans hear the name “Scott Kazmir” a lot of emotions are felt. Some get depressed, some get confused, some get carpal tunnel, I for one get that feeling that comes right after I’m done throwing up everything I’ve put into your body for the past two weeks. Even now looking at where Kazmir is, it was still a terrible trade. What he could have brought to those 2006, 2007, and 2008 teams could have put the team over the top…
But now it’s 2012, the past is in the past, and Victor Zambrano is who knows where. Kazmir isn’t have much better luck, but at least some teams are interested in signing him. Last Friday he threw in front of about 10 scouts, with his fastball ranging between 86-89 MPH and reportably touched 91 MPH at times. The Mets, who were reported that they would have someone in attendance to watch, turned out not to send anyone to the workout. The Mets appeared not to be interested Kazmir.
Flash-forward a few days, and maybe some things have changed. Buster Olney now reports that Kazmir is deciding between six teams and the Mets are one of them. They are also the only team that was actually mentioned by name. Kazmir will decide which team that he wants to sign with in the coming days.
Brian Costa now reports that the Mets are interested in watching him throw, but have not offered him a contract. I’m not too sure what happened between last week and today, but by the sounds of things maybe Kazmir impressed some people in his workout. The Mets went from not being interested, to one of the teams that look to sign him in a matter of days.
If Kazmir’s fastball is really in the high 80’s low 90’s range then the Mets should offer him a deal. In 2007 the average velocity on his fastball was 92.4. It then dropped to 91.8 in 2008, then to 91.2 in 2009, 90.9 in 2010, and finally 86.8 in 2011. Granted, he only threw 1.2 innings in 2011, but you can see that as his velocity of his fastball drops, his ERA raises. And while the speed of his fastball has been dropping the speed of his change-up has stayed relatively the same, and even jumped up from 79.0 in 2009 to 79.9 in 2010. So the combination of a dropping fastball, and all other pitches staying the same speed is never a good sign for a pitcher.
Now as a left-hander you don’t have to throw 95 MPH to be affective. If Kazmir can stay in the 88 to 90 MHP area and have his change-up in the 76 to 78 MPH range, I think he can be successful at the major league level.
When it comes down to it the Mets need some starting pitching depth. With Johan Santana still a big question mark, and the Mets luck with injuries, they are going to need a few guys to come up from the minors and help them out during the season.
Sandy Alderson has also yet to take a risk on any the players he’s signed. If the Mets sign a starting pitcher it should be a low-risk, high-reward type of pitcher. On that list right now I would put Kazmir, Brandon Webb, and Chris Young. Webb has had two shoulder surgeries, one in 2009 and the other to repair his rotator cuff in 2010. Young dealt with shoulder problems in 2009 and 2010, and then came to the Mets in2011. Despite getting off to a great start, he only pitched in four games before missing the rest of the season because of bicep tendinitis and shoulder soreness. If the Mets should sign one of these pitchers they need to make sure it’s to a minor league contract, which is most likely all they’ll get with their injury history.
Kazmir is the most interesting because he is the youngest and he is left-handed. He also was a part of one of the worst trades in Mets history, so being him back would be a big story. However, he’s performance has been getting worse and worse ever since the 2009 season. He’s been dealing with elbow, shoulder and hamstring injuries and his velocity has dropped significantly. His minor league performance in 2011 may be the most concerning with him going 0-5 in five starts with a 17.02 ERA, 20 walks and six hit batters in 15.1 innings and only 14 strikeouts.
If the Mets weren’t in attendance for his first workout, they should really watch him throw before offering him a contract. Good news is five other teams are interested in him, so he’s had to do something good to interest them.