Should Kazmir interest the Cardinals?

Reading MLB Trade Rumors today and it appears that the Anaheim Angels will likely release Scott Kazmir. Kazmir, 27, has had trouble coming back from back stiffness that landed him on the disabled list. His return to Anaheim he allowed 5 runs in less than 2 innings. That’s not pretty. It seems that the Angels have designated him for assignment based on tweets I’ve read.

The question is: Should the Cardinals bring him in?

There are many guys over at CardsClubhouse who are salivating over the idea of bringing Kazmir onboard. Honestly, while I’d love to get him to Memphis to see if we can’t figure him out, the idea of him on the major league roster at this point scares me. We already have one project on the major league roster in Ryan Franklin. Do we need another?

MarTeezy, my oft nemesis on the forums in many discussions and debates over the last year, had a brilliant idea. Bring him in as a LOOGY.

Since Brian Tallet went down with his broken hand in April, the Cardinals have not had a good left handed option out of the bullpen. Since Tallet went on the disabled list on April 13th, Trevor Miller has an ERA of 4.00 over 23 appearances and 9 innings. He’s allowed a walk or a hit in 15 of his 23 appearances. And while left handed batters are hitting just .194 against him, their on base percentage is .359. Since Tallet has returned, he has a 11.12 ERA over 8 appearances and 5.2 innings.

So does bringing in Scott Kazmir as a lefty reliever make sense?

Kazmir is a 27 year old power pitcher. He had four great years with Tampa Bay as a starter before being dealt to the Angels in 2009. Since that year, he’s struggled. After going on the disabled list with back tightness, Kazmir made 5 rehab starts and has thrown only 15.1 innings, taking the loss in all 5 starts. His ERA was 17.02.

So why would the Cardinals want him?

Kazmir’s career numbers against lefty handed hitters is a .231 batting average with an OBP of .300. Those numbers are similar to those of Trevor Miller. Like Miller, those numbers have jumped as he has declined. But could he successfully duplicate those numbers in the small sample sizes required out of the bullpen?

Additionally, Kazmir has gone 6 innings in one start this year. In his next longest was 3.2. Most of his starts have gone about 2 innings. Can he reliably start and go deep into games at this point even if he does turn it around?

Bottom line, Kazmir has a favorable split against lefties. If he clears waivers, as I’d expect him to, he’d be available at the league minimum. He’s looking for a place that will give him an opportunity to prove himself again. That could be the Cardinals. They obviously need something to stabilize the bullpen against left handed hitters, Kazmir could be an answer if they don’t feel that Raul Valdez is ready in Memphis yet.

Would Kazmir want the Cardinals? That’s the question. Obviously there will be plenty of teams that will express an interest in him, and some that will be willing to take the gamble on him as a starter. The real question is whether he’d rather be a starter for a non-contending team or a reliever for a team that has a shot at making the playoffs who has a pitching coach known for resurrecting careers.

It’s a gamble I’d like to take. Relatively inexpensive with a huge upside if we get the opportunity to let him work with Duncan. If I’m Kazmir, I like the idea too. I can always market myself as a starter next offseason without much impact to my overall value. So why not?

It’d be interesting to see what John Mozeliak has to say about that idea. Let me know what you think.