Tampa Bay Rays’ Great – Scott Kazmir will never surrender
By Seth Carter
Former Tampa Bay Rays’ ace has faced many adversities over the years but has never given up.
July 30, 2004- The New York Mets traded Jose Diaz and Scott Kazmier to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Bartolome Fortunato and Victor Zambrano.
Kazmir was drafted in the first round of the 2002 draft with the 15th pick by the Mets. He dominated the minor leagues and had Mets’ fans salivating about their future left-handed ace.
Then he was traded.
August 23, 2004 – Less than one month after the trade, Kazmir made his Major League debut for the Rays in Seattle at just 20-years-old. In a sign of things to come he went five scoreless and gave up only four hits to a Mariners team that included the likes of Ichiro Suzuki, Edgar Martinez, and Raul Ibanez.
Kazmir quickly assumed the role as the Rays’ ACE the following season. Between 2005 and 2008 he posted a 3.51 ERA and never had a single season ERA over 3.77.
Between 2006-2008 he posted a 3.41 ERA and stuck out just over 10 batters per nine.
Scott Kazmir made two All-Star appearances in that three-year span.
2009 – Kazmir was struggling with his control due to mechanical issues. In 111 innings pitched for the Devil Rays, he was sitting on a 5.92 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, and walked over four batters per nine innings. On top of all that, his strikeouts per nine had plummeted to 7.4.
The Rays traded him to the Los Angeles Angels where he finished the season by pitching in six games.
2010 – Kazmir started 28 games for the Angels and posted a 5.94 ERA.
2011 – Kazmir made one more start as an Angel before being released, after being plagued by injuries and mechanical issues.
The Angels still owed him $14.5 million at the time of his release. At the age of 27, Kazmir was teamless. He wouldn’t make another appearance in the majors until 2013 when he resurfaced with the Indians.
Despite his unfortunate release and his transformation from one of the game’s best pitchers to one of the worst. Kazmir kept plugging. He found himself pitching in an independent league before eventually getting another opportunity with the Indians.
Between 2013 and 2015 Kazmir posted a 3.54 ERA and showed a whole new level of control by walking only 2.6 batters per nine innings during those three years.
Kazmir made his third All-Star appearance in 2014 as a member of the Oakland A’s.
Prior to 2016 Kazmir signed a three-year deal with the Dodgers. His first season in blue became his only season as he posted a 4.56 ERA and missed all of 2017 with a hip injury.
Prior to 2018, the Dodgers traded him to the Atlanta Braves.
Kazmir had a chance to compete for the Braves’ fifth spot in the rotation that spring. Many expected Kazmir to take the job but it wasn’t the case.
the 34-year-old Kazmir left his final start with the Braves due to “arm fatigue” but still expected that he’d be their fifth starter as he told reporters he expected to be ready for his start on April 10th (Braves’ fifth game).
Shortly after that, the Braves announced they were releasing Scott Kazmir despite owing him $16 million.
The Braves saw a struggling pitcher, battered by injuries over the years whose fastball was barely reaching 88 mph that spring.
At 34, Kazmir was once again out of the game.
He hasn’t stepped foot on a Major League mound since 2016 with the Dodgers.
Last May, in an interview with Matthew Brownstein of Metsmerizedonline.com, Kazmir indicated he still wants to get back in the game.
"I really want to be back in the game, I wanted to play some more. This past November I started to throw again and started my throwing program in December, it just didn’t turn out too well physically. I was a little bit behind in flexibility and everything, so we kind of shut it down.I’ve got a lot of stuff going on in my personal life; I’ve got a kid who’s one and a half years old now and another one on the way. I have some family stuff health-wise that my mom’s going through and I’d like to be close to her these next couple of years. So we’ll see what happens.I really miss the game, I love watching these games and it’s bittersweet because I want to be out there but I’m loving spending time with my family that’s for sure."
It looks like his perseverance knows no bounds.
Then, this video recently surfaced from his Twitter account:
It appears Kazmir is giving it one more go. He will turn 36 on January 24th and he already has one spectacular comeback under his belt.
Rays’ fans are surely pulling for the first ACE in franchise history to resurrect his career somewhere.
Never Give Up! Never Surrender!
Kazmir refuses to give up and will not surrender. We admire his tenacity.
We hope to see you on a Major League mound again!