Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Kazmir: Keep him or Let him go?

How quickly we forget. Sometime in the last year, Scott Kazmir went from being the one-time future of the franchise to nothing more than a disposable part of a .500 team.

It all started with a comment from a co-worker (Matty from St. Pete) who called me a "Kaz apologist" when we were arguing about what starting pitcher could be sacrificed for David Price. I had to think about that for a moment. I know he's not quite been the same since the all-star break last year.  But, this is a guy who was the Rays only all-star pitcher last year.  I know he's had a little trouble this year early in games, but he's still 4-3.  This is a guy who's not striking out as many this year, but lead the league in strikeouts in 2007.  He's a guy who is on his 5th year with the team, but he's only 25.

Later, as I was headed home from work, I turned on an afternoon sports radio host who went as far as suggesting the Rays trade Kazmir now.  I almost had to slam on the breaks.  Trade Kaz?  Why not trade Longoria while you're at it? That's sacrilege. He went on to say that several reputable blogs were advocating trading Kazmir.  I was floored.  I couldn't wait to go home and find out who could possibly want to get rid of Kazmir.

Sure enough, when I got home I found this DRays Bay article from a few days ago.  I will be the first admit that I'm not nearly as analytical as those guys over there.  But, c'mon, a few bad starts to begin the season and you're ready to give up on a guy like that for some mediocre prospects? No way! I'm sure any team would jump at the opportunity to get Kaz the same way the Rays got him from the Mets.  What floored me is on how quickly some in this fan base have dismissed him.  There were even unsubstantiated rumors that the Rays tried to move Kazmir in the off-season.

I understand we're not seeing the Kazmanian Devil this year.  He's pitching like crap early in the games and getting shelled. His fastball velocity is down and he's having trouble hitting the strike zone.  But, this .500 team has no business moving the pitcher with the most potential while still trying to make a run to the postseason. Trading him would only leave the Rays like the Mets, dreaming about what could've been.

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