Kansas City Royals Trade Targets: Scott Kazmir
At this point, it is obvious that the Kansas City Royals need help in the starting rotation. Yes, Joe Blanton and Chris Young have done an excellent job filling in for the various injuries that the Royals have had, but it is fair to wonder whether or not they can continue such a torrid pace. The Royals, even if Yordano Ventura and Jason Vargas return, need help.
With that being the case, it is no surprise that the Royals are being linked to several available starters. Not only are the Royals looking at an upgrade at either second or right in Ben Zobrist, but they also reportedly have been looking at Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake. Obviously, Dayton Moore knows that the Royals, for all of their strengths, need to find that starting pitcher to put them over the top.
What the Royals truly need is a top of the rotation starter. Cueto would certainly fit the bill, but may come with a high price. Leake just is not that type of pitcher. However, if the Royals are truly after Zobrist, they may be able to locate that pitcher they need at the same time in Scott Kazmir.
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Although he may be best known to Kansas City Royals fans for touching off the second part of the April beanball fest with the A’s, Scott Kazmir would appear to be exactly what the team needs. His 4-4 record this season belies a 2.70 ERA and a 1.200 WHiP. In his 83.1 innings, Kazmir has struck out 79 batters against only 32 walks. That would certainly be the type of pitcher the Royals are in need of.
Kazmir also has postseason experience, as a part of the Rays 2008 World Series club and again when the Angels reached the American League Championship Series in 2009. However, when the A’s collapsed down the stretch last year to end up in the Wild Card Game, Kazmir was a part of the problem. Over the final two months of the year, Kazmir posted a 3-6 record with a 6.05 ERA and a 1.541 WHiP. He may not have been the only reason for the collapse, but Kazmir certainly did not help matters.
This would seem to be a trend for Kazmir. That postseason experience that he has? Well, even though Kazmir was a different pitcher in those days, he still did not have the best time in the playoffs. Overall, Kazmir has posted a 5.20 ERA and a 1.734 WHiP in his nine postseason appearances.
Could Kazmir help the Royals reach the postseason? He certainly would appear to be able to, given the way that he has performed this year and his overall numbers last year. Yet, his postseason track record, as well as his difficulties down the stretch last year, lead one to wonder if, perhaps, those moments when the playoffs are on the line are beyond what he is capable of. Some pitchers have the ability to rise up in those do or die moments, like Ventura in Game Six of the World Series. Others, when the spotlight is upon them, shrink from the moment.
Scott Kazmir, based on his track record, seems to be more of the latter. While the Kansas City Royals need an upgrade in the rotation, Kazmir may not be the pitcher one would think he is.