There was a point in the not-so-distant past that the name Scott Kazmir would be mentioned alongside some of the top starting pitchers in the American League. The former two-time All-Star led the American League in strikeouts in 2007, and he was a bright young star for the Rays for some time. Then things fell apart.
Control issues were always around, but staying healthy also became a problem for Kazmir along the way, and the last few years have not been kind. Since 2009, Kazmir is 19-24 with a 5.54 ERA in 55 starts. In addition, he has only pitched one game in the last two Major League seasons.
However, Jon Heyman has word that Kazmir is throwing well again in Puerto Rico and that his performance is turning some heads:
Scott Kazmir getting a lot of interest, may choose soon from multiple teams offering chance. Throwing 90-94 in puerto rico— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 4, 2012
It might surprise you to know that while Kazmir is a veteran with 8 years of Major League service under his belt, the former first round pick of the New York Mets is still only 28-years-old. If his fastball is rounding into shape and his arm is healthy, Kazmir has the experience and sample sizes to show he can still impact a rotation. Even in a short six game tryout with the Angels in 2009, Kazmir went 2-2 with a 1.73 ERA. Then again, he imploded the very next season.
Still the Royals are the ideal team to take a flier on a talent like Kazmir or other such reclamation projects in the hopes of rounding out the rotation. With numerous players returning from Tommy John surgery and other prospects not quite ready, the team could also take a look at one more potential player in the rotation. Kazmir appears to have other teams thinking the same.