The Oakland Athletics have some work to do this offseason. The bullpen needs to be revamped, the chemistry in the clubhouse needs to be resolved, and everyone needs to be healthy. Additionally, Oakland needs to make a small change to their starting rotation. In order to be successful next season, the Athletics are going to need to add a veteran starter to the starting five.
There has been some speculation that Scott Kazmir may be on the top of the Athletics’ wish list for veteran starting pitchers. This would not only please the fans, but also many of the currently Oakland A’s. Sonny Gray and Kazmir were great friends and numerous other players expressed their sadness on social media when Kazmir was traded in July. The addition of Kazmir could also help with team chemistry since he is well liked and was a leader in the rotation.
But will the Athletics be able to obtain Kazmir? The reason they traded him to the Houston Astros in the first place is because he was a hot commodity who would be a free agent after the 2015 season and it was unlikely that Oakland would be able to re-sign him. However, the tides seem to have turned in the Athletics’ favor.
Kazmir was great while he was in Oakland, but definitely struggled while pitching for Houston. His ERA jumped from a 2.38, which he held while with the Athletics, to a 4.17 throughout his time with the Astros. With a 2-6 losing record, Kazmir allowed more runs in less innings pitched while with his new team. Additionally, in his postseason start, Kazmir allowed three runs in 5.1 innings.
Because of his poor performance during the second half of the season, his valuability has gone down. With so many starting pitcher free agents this offseason including the likes of David Price, Zack Greinke and Johnny Cueto, Kazmir would have needed to continue his success throughout the entire season just to be on a level playing field with these quality starters. Unfortunately for Kazmir, he will now not be in the forefront of people’s mind when front offices start looking at the free agent market because of his lack-lusters outings with the Astros.
However, there is no doubt that Kazmir will get some offers that are higher than his current salary. Oakland signed Kazmir to a 2-year, $22 million dollar deal after the 2013 season. It is likely that this number will go up at least a little. If the A’s are willing to shell out this kind of money again, it will definitely be worth it to sign Kazmir since they are familiar with his talent and he has those veteran leadership qualities Oakland is looking to add to their roster.
Oakland did give Kazmir his second chance at a Major League career and there is a soft spot in Kazmir’s heart for the green and gold. If the A’s truly want Kazmir back, there is a chance that they could snag him away from other teams. However, they are going to need to be aggressive with their offer in order to compete with other organizations – especially the ones who think Price’s, Greinke’s, and Cueto’s price tags are too high and are looking for a better, more affordable option.