Scott Kazmir struggles with Angels
It doesn't seem all that long ago that Scott Kazmir appeared to be well on his way to becoming a major-league ace. He was a two-time All-Star with the Rays and led the American League in strikeouts in 2007. Mets fans complained that trading Kazmir to the Rays for Carlos Zambrano in 2004 might have been the worst trade in Mets history. But now Kazmir, only 27, is struggling to hang on in the majors. According to FoxSports.com, Kazmir is on a "short leash'' with the Angels. He had a poor spring and struggled mightily in his first start on Sunday. He couldn't get out of the second inning and had about as bad of a day as a starting pitcher can have. He pitched 1 2/3 innings, throwing 63 pitches and allowing five hits, five runs (all earned) with two walks, two hit batters and a balk. The "short leash,'' from all indications, is one more start to see if he can find himself. If not, there are rumors that the Angels could ask Kazmir to go back to the minors. If he refuses, the Angels could release him, but it would cost the Angels the remainder of his $12-million salary in 2011, plus his $2.5 million buyout for 2012. It's interesting that trading for Kazmir and then trading Kazmir to the Angels (in part to get infielder Sean Rodriguez) will both go down as two of the better trades in Rays history.