If you had Scott Kazmir as one of your starters in your draft Kings lineup today, you need to make a change now, as the Oakland A's have dealt the lefty to the Houston Astros. Kazmir was supposed to take the hill for the A's against R.A. Dickey and the Toronto Blue Jays. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that start will now be made by the recently-recalled Arnold Leon.
Kazmir is the first of several top notch starters that might be dealt before the July 31 trade deadline. As reported earlier here at the Inquisitr, trade rumors have also been swirling around Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Cole Hamels, and several others.
Oakland got two prospects in return for Kazmir: right-handed pitcher Daniel Mengden and catcher Jacob Nottingham. Mengden was a fourth round selection in the 2014 draft. He has played in two stops in A ball this season, sporting a 6-2 record with an earned run average of 3.46. Mengden has struggled a bit since his call up to high A ball, with a 5.26 ERA. Nottingham was a sixth round draft choice in the 2013 draft. He, too, has played for two A ball teams. In 76 games, he has clubbed 14 home runs and driven in 60 runs. Nottingham is batting a robust.326. Nottingham was one of nine players Baseball America touted as middle of the diamond players with power.
Kazmir joins an Astros rotation that includes Dallas Keuchel, Scott Feldman, Collin McHugh, and Lance McCullers. Even before Kazmir's acquisition, the Astros have done a solid job on the mound. The team has the fourth best ERA in the American League, and the best WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) in the league.
This will be Kazmir's fifth big league club, and it will also be a homecoming for Scott, as he went to Cypress Fall High School in Houston. He has had a solid year, with a record of 5-5 and an ERA of 2.38. In 110 innings pitched, he has struck out 101 batters.
With Kazmir becoming a free agent at the end of the season, it only made sense for the A's to move him. Oakland is floundering at the bottom of the A.L. West, and general manager Billy Beane wasn't about to let him play out the last few months and not get anything in return. Beane got a couple of decent prospects for a rental player.
As for the Astros, this was a good deal, because if they are going to go for it this season, they needed another starter. The rotation has done pretty well, but it is filled with young guys who have never been in this position and aren't going to be able to eat up all those innings. Guys like McHugh and McCullers will soon be bumping up against their desired innings limits and may need a breather before the playoffs.
As for the rest of the baseball world, they see that Scott Kazmir is the first trade domino to fall, and now we wait to see who is next.
[Iamge by Rich Schultz / Getty Images]