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Mets Should Bring Scott Kazmir Home

Before there was Jarred Kelenic, there was Scott Kazmir. Back on July 30, 2004, for some reason or another, a Mets team four games under .500 and 7.5 games out of a postseason spot believed they were in it, so they traded Kazmir and Jose Diaz for Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato.

That trade could not have gone worse for the Mets.

First, the Mets pinned the blame on Rick Peterson for saying he worried about Kazmir’s mechanics and for saying he could fix Zambrano in a second. They blamed Kazmir for his supposedly abrasive personality. They blamed Al Leiter, Tom Glavine, John Franco, and other veterans for having issues with Kazmir’s clubhouse demeanor. They blamed everyone but the decision makers (read: Jeff Wilpon).

Zambrano would not be the key piece to the Mets rotation they wanted us all to believe. Ironically, for a team worried about Kazmir’s durability, Zambrano broke down. Over his 2+ years with the Mets, Zambrano pitched just 201.1 innings with a 94 ERA+ and 4.35 FIP.

Meanwhile, Kazmir was emerging as a top of the line starter for the Rays. He was a two time All-Star in his six years there, lead the league in strikeouts in 2007, and he helped pitch the Rays to the the 2008 and 2009 postseasons.

To be fair, Kazmir did eventually have injury problems. He recovered from them, and he was an effective starter again. He would then get injured again with his fastball dropping into the 80s leading to his eventual release in the 2017 Spring Training. He didn’t retire, and now, he is attempting a comeback.

With his being away for a few years, Kazmir has had time to heal and get his fastball back. If you revisit his 2016 season, his last healthy one, Baseball Savant rated extremely well in terms of strikeout rate, hard hit rate, and exit velocity. Point is, when healthy, he could pitch.

At least, right now, he appears healthy. With him now working out for teams, we will soon find out if he can pitch like he did in 2016. If so, the team who takes a chance on him could benefit.

With his being away from the game for a few years and his durability concerns, it would seem Kazmir belongs in the bullpen, which is where the Mets argued he belonged all along. If that is the case, teams should push hard to sign him.

Fact is with the new three batter reliever rule, teams will need left-handed relievers who can pitch to both right-handed and left-handed batters. Like most left-handed starters, that is Kazmir. Or better put, if healthy and has a reasonable facsimile of his stuff, that could be Kazmir.

In terms of the Mets, they really don’t have that type of reliever in the minors right now, at least not a Major League ready one. The hope is Chasen Shreve could potentially be that, but he has had shoulder issues, and he has not been the same. If nothing else, Kazmir would be extra insurance.

It could also right a wrong and could give Mets fans a little more excitement. Much like how fans rallied around Jason Isringhausen, who had a surprise rebound season in 2011, we could see the same with Kazmir in 2020. Maybe, we could see Kazmir helping pitch the Mets to the postseason like he did with the Rays and like Mets fans once hoped he would.

At the end of the day, it will likely cost the Mets just a minor league deal to find out. With that being the case, the Mets should bring him back to the organization.

0 thoughts on “Mets Should Bring Scott Kazmir Home”

  1. Oldbackstop says:

    Let’s see….so far this off season you have bemoaned not bringing back Kazmir, Harvey, Plawecki, D’arnaud….

    Are you one of those guys who manically calls old girlfriends?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Plawecki and TdA were clear upgrades available at a reasonable cost.

      It’s a strange mischaracterization to equate saying the Mets should take reasonable fliers by signing once very good pitchers to minor league deals as bemoaning.

    2. Oldbackstop says:

      There 29x times more options out there other than ex-Mets, and every two weeks you have to put a headline up dragging an old Met out, either for effect or for click baits or simply because your player knowledge doesn’t extend beyond the backyard fence to the rest of the neighborhood.

      1. metsdaddy says:

        Tell me the name of the LHP still available who could have a big impact

        1. Oldbackstop says:

          Anyone still sitting around right now is only going to do the usual with Wilpon — put a PR band-aid over it. We need to move Dom Smith. He can’t play left and we have ten guys you could stick at first and, oh yeah, Alonso. Smith is going to wind up in AAA. A pen arm would be a good get, and it would be a kindness for the kid. He is at his highest value, because it isn’t going to get any better with a pinch AB here or there and some video of him being the sixth worse defensive OFer.

          1. metsdaddy says:

            Smith is the lone LHB on the bench. Mets need to keep him, and instead, trade J.D. Davis who cannot field.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            Mets need to keep Smith as he’s their lone LHB on the bench, and he’s a defensive replacement at first.

            J.D. Davis can’t field anywhere, and that BABIP is going to come crashing down. He’s the guy to trade.

          3. Oldbackstop says:

            Only an idiot would say Dom and JD are of the same trade value. JD was one of the best OFers in baseball in the second half and had the highest OPS in the history of CitiField. In the history of CitiField.

            Meanwhile, Dom is riding around on a scooter, and basically looking like he is on one when they put him in left. Alonso will play 157 games again….if they need an injury replacement Dom can Uber down the Thruway. We have plenty of left handed bats in the line-up, and the platoon cha-cha is gone this year.

          4. metsdaddy says:

            You’re right. Only an idiot would say that when you consider the other 29 teams weren’t particularly interested in J.D. Davis because he can’t play a position and his BABIP inflated stats were superball driven.

  2. Oldbackstop says:

    The other 29 teams weren’t….huh? When the Astros moved him? The Mets are to be commended for their analytics identifying JD (Omar talked about it when they got him). And the headlines there were that the Mets paid a “steep” price, including Santana.

    JD is the best move BVW has made. You were babbling about BABIP in June….JD finished the year batting .307. He crushes the ball at an elite level, it makes it hard to make an out on his balls in play.

    WTF, the guy had the highest OPS at Citifield ever! Not last year. Not for a rookie. Anyone ever.

    JD had a bad April with the glove, no doubt. Then he was thrown into left for the first significant time. But there is zero argument over who is a better defender, him or Dom.

    JD is a .300 plus hitter who had a 449 foot HR last year. He is five times the player fat Dom is.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      He’s a terrible defender who hit because of unsustainably high BABIPs fueled by the superball.

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        BTW…..what is the “bring him home weeping” about Kazmir? He never played for the major league Mets, never even played for their AAA team, and barely played at the AA level. It’s not like we are bringing back d’Arnaud or something.

        Anyway, you want to sign him to a minor league deal with an invite? Whatever, fine I guess. But time and resources and coaching given to mid 30s guys out of the game for three years come from somewhere….some kid or kids get less attention and innings.

        JD won the AAA batting title in 2018, hitting 80 points higher than Alonso. Was it Babip and superballs then too? If it was superballs why didn’t anyone else on the 2019 set all time batting records in OPS at Citi? Why did he sweep the slashes from everybody but McNeil and Alonso, second or third in all of them. Because the superball?

        JD had the factors that lead to high, sustainable BaBip, which clearly you haven’t studied. He has absolutely elite hard contact and exit velocity, both in the 90+ percentile. He has a very high line drive rate and a very low fly ball rate. Those are the four top factors in sustaining a high BaBip (the fifth being speed.) Very few batters have four of five of those factors. And remember, while having considerably at bats than Alonso and McNeil, he still had 22 home runs, which don’t toward BaBip.

        While sometimes you can clearly guess a batter had a “lucky” or “unlucky” stretch due to BaBip, JD has 4 of the 5 factors that lead to a high BaBip. You would EXPECT him to have a high BaBip.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          1. As I noted with Kazmir, the Mets don’t have a MLB ready LHP cross-over relief prospect.

          2. From June – September, Davis had a .385 BABIP. While grasping at straws, take time to look at how a BABIP that high has been unsustainable over the 150 years of baseball.

          1. Oldbackstop says:

            In a career that stretches back to 2094, Kazmir does not have one single relief appearance.

            JD has four of the five traits recognized to maintain a high BaBip, as numerous player did that year. McNeil was trading the lead with him all year. Is McNeil going to crash?

          2. metsdaddy says:

            1. Because Kazmir doesn’t have a relief appearance, you’re saying the Mets should just punt on LHP relief depth?

            2. BABIPs of .385 are unsustainable.

          3. Oldbackstop says:

            JD did not have a BaBip of .385. His for 2019 was .355. As I explained, due to his elite exit velocity and bat speed — in the 95+ percentile – and remarkable low flyball rate and line drive rate — he would be expected to have a high BaBip.

            From what I have read, it may well be that, if you quantified the four factors above, JD might actually be unique in the entire league. Most guys with his exit velocities uppercut and hit home runs, and therefore flyballs and not line drives..

          4. metsdaddy says:

            From June 1 until the end of the year, Davis’ BABIP was .385. Previous to that, he was an All too uninspiring.257/.327/.434 hitter.

            Davis is not unique. He was lucky.

      2. Oldbackstop says:

        So were they throwing a different baseball at JD than at the rest of the Mets?

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Players like Conforto and Nimmo have proven they didn’t need the superball to succeed.

          Davis hasn’t.

          1. Oldbackstop says:

            So….the “superball” benefited JD….but didn’t benefit Nimmo and JD? What physics Secret Source do you have to cite on that?

            And did JD prove nothing to you by hitting .346 and winning the AAA batting title, hitting 80 points over Alonso? Was that a lucky BaBip?

            Was there a superball in AAA, then JD was getting a superball pitched to him in 2019 but Nimmo and Conforto weren’t?

          2. metsdaddy says:

            Go back, re-read what I actually wrote, a reply to that

          3. Oldbackstop says:

            Read what I wrote. Why would a “superball” give JD Davis an advantage over every other Met since we moved to CitiField, measured by his 2019 OPS? Why just him? Why not Conforto and Nimmo, etc.

          4. metsdaddy says:

            I already answered that inane point brought up post hoc, which is why I said actually read what I wrote.

          5. Oldbackstop says:

            “….which is why I said actually read what I wrote.”

            Huh?

          6. metsdaddy says:

            Your reaction there sums up my point quite well.

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