The Angels released left-hander Scott Kazmir yesterday which may signal the end of the career of the best pitchers the Rays have ever had. He came to the Devil Rays in an infamous trade (at least as far as the Mets are concerned) at the deadline in 2004 for Victor Zambrano. It was a great trade for the Devil Rays as he became the top of the rotation pitcher that the team needed. He consistently won 10-13 games for teams that were losing over 90 and remember he was just in his early 20′s. The future looked bright the young left-hander.
In 2008, he made his second All-Star team and helped the newly-named Rays to an American League pennant. The Rays were in the thick of the race again in 2009 when they shipped the 25 year old to the Angels for Sean Rodriguez presumably to avoid paying Kazmir’s rising salary. I remember wondering at the time how the Rays could send off one of their best pitchers when they still had a shot to win. Now, I know that the Rays’ brass saw something the Angels obviously missed. Kazmir was essentially done as he went 11-17 with a 5.31 ERA with the Angels from 2009-2011.
Rodriguez certainly isn’t a great player, but a much better value at this point for the pitching-rich Rays. Kazmir’s saga is just another reason why the Rays are the best run organization in baseball.