- Gabriel Burns
The Braves have a lottery ticket in former All-Star but oft-injured starter Scott Kazmir. The well-traveled veteran is looking to revive his career in Atlanta.
Here are five things to know about the 34-year-old lefty:
When acquired: The Braves traded highly paid outfielder Matt Kemp to the Dodgers for a package of infielder Charlie Culberson, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, starter Brandon McCarthy and Kazmir. Gonzalez and Kazmir were thrown in the deal for financial reasons. Gonzalez was immediately waived as a condition of the trade, but the Braves will take a look at Kazmir.
What to expect: Kazmir is a classic one-year flier. He was included in a trade to make money work, and the Braves already have a surplus of rotation candidates. It’s not inconceivable that Kazmir works his way into a role, though unlikely. His velocity was reportedly sitting in the mid-80s last season, in which he never made an appearance because of recurring injuries.
The Braves aren’t sure how or if Kazmir will factor into the team’s plans, according to general manager Alex Anthopoulos.
Summary of career: Kazmir headlined a prospect package sent from the Mets to the Rays for starter Victor Zambrano in 2004. He debuted for the Rays that season and earned his first All-Star appearance two seasons later, blossoming into one of the best strikeout left-handers in the game.
From 2006-08 he arguably was the best starter in the American League, but elbow problems derailed him. He was traded to the Angels in 2009, and he struggled until 2013, when he was a finalist for comeback player of the year with Cleveland. He earned his third All-Star appearance a season later in Oakland.
Kazmir was traded to the Astros in July 2015, then signed a three-year, $48 million deal with the Dodgers that December.
Career highlight: Kazmir might’ve been the game’s best pitcher in 2007. He led the AL in strikeouts (239) and starts (34).
A season later, he was less effective but helped the Rays to their first division title and first World Series berth. He posted a 4.21 ERA over five postseason starts.
Something you didn’t know about him: Kazmir exhibited unprecedented dominance as a high schooler in Houston. The Cypress Falls High School product set a state record with 175 strikeouts in a season, besting Josh Beckett’s 172. Kazmir threw four consecutive no-hitters as a junior, and managed to no-hit the opposition in six of seven starts. He won Baseball America’s high school player of the year honor in 2002.