Thursday, July 23, 2015

Astros trade for Kazmir, form The Brothers K

So the Astros have acquired A's LHP Scott Kazmir in exchange for Jacob Nottingham and Daniel Mengden, two hours before Kazmir was scheduled to start against the Blue Jays. I'm guessing he goes on Friday against Kansas City, now, pushing everybody else back a day.

Kazmir, 31, graduated from Cy Falls, and was the Mets' 1st Round pick in 2002. He's been around and dealt with injuries - pitching 1.2IP in 2011 and missing all of 2012. In the last two years with Oakland, he's thrown exactly 300IP, allowing 255H/104ER, 265K:85BB - a 3.26 ERA/1.13 WHIP.  He has been worth 2.2 WAR (FanGraphs version), benefiting from a .262 BABIP and a career-low 0.57 HR/9inn.

Jacob Nottingham was the Astros' 6th Round pick in the 2013 draft. He's 20 years old, and big for a catcher (6'3" 227), and was absolutely dominating this season, posting a .931 OPS at Quad Cities and a .974 OPS at Lancaster. I liked him a lot and so, naturally, I hate this trade.

Daniel Mengden was the Astros' 4th Round pick in the 2014 draft, a Westside High/A&M grad. He's 22 and was killing Quad Cities (1.16 ERA/0.98 WHIP), but has taken some time to adjust to the Cal League (5.26 ERA/1.55 WHIP).

Are the Astros "going for it?" I mean, the rotation is better now. There is now one man out in the rotation: Keuchel, Kazmir (The Brothers K - I'm trademarking that) lead the way, with three spots for McCullers, McHugh, Feldman, and Velasquez. This move gives the Astros more options - no word on the possibility of going to a six-man rotation - on keeping McCullers/Velasquez's innings down.

Keep in mind that Kazmir is owed the remainder of a $13m salary this season (part of a backloaded 2yr/$20m deal with the A's), but he's a free agent in the offseason. Given that he's from Houston, it may be easier to re-sign him (should the Astros want to do so), but that's the gamble with rental pitchers.

I like the trade. I'll miss the promise of the 6'3" 227lb catcher with the .941 OPS, mainly because I talked just last night about how excited I was about his development. But Kazmir slots in right behind Keuchel, gives the Astros another lefty option, and bolsters the rotation over the next 66 games. Both teams got something they wanted.

Kazmir, for his part, is excited:

Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn't see a big difference: