Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays picked the best time possible in making decision to trade Scott Kazmir

DETROIT — Like or hate the Scott Kazmir trade, there are two things that stand out: the boldness and the timing.

Immersed in a battle to run down the Red Sox for the AL wild card, it would seem the worst possible time to trade a key member of the rotation, leaving the Rays potentially with three rookies among their starting five in September and creating the impression they were surrendering.

But in a way, the timing couldn't have been better.

If the Rays had decided — which they apparently had — that Kazmir wasn't going to be worth the $22.5 million future investment they had in him, they needed, as a low-revenue club, to find a way out.

Kazmir, after struggling much of the season, created an escape window by pitching extremely well his past couple of times out. The Angels emerged as perfect partners, motivated enough in the heat of their own battle to take on the contract and to give back three quality prospects.

A few months ago, the Rays couldn't get nearly as good a deal, or any deal, for Kazmir. (And, as manager Joe Maddon pointed out, no one would have criticized them for trading him then if they had.) A few months from now, they might have had more teams interested but not nearly as motivated during the offseason. And that's without knowing if Kazmir would continue to pitch well or revert to earlier form.

It would have been easier to not make the deal, and the Rays were bold to do so. Maybe not as much as in trading Delmon Young, who at the time was considered to be a future long-term All-Star (and that worked out pretty well), but bold nonetheless. Apart from Fred McGriff at the end of his career, Kazmir may be the biggest name player the Rays have traded, ahead of Roberto Hernandez and Aubrey Huff.

Still, it looked to the Rays like a deal they had to make. Unlike a position player such as, say, Carl Crawford, who was going to have an impact in every game the rest of the season, Kazmir was going to make six or seven more starts. So ultimately the question was how much better would — might? — Kazmir be over those games than Wade Davis or Andy Sonnanstine, and how much difference that would make in a race they need to play better overall to win.

Their conclusion, obviously, was not much. And certainly not more than $22 million worth.

Tampa Bay Rays picked the best time possible in making decision to trade Scott Kazmir 08/29/09 [Last modified: Sunday, August 30, 2009 7:33am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021


    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb made mistakes on back-to-back pitches to the first two Angels hitters Tuesday, allowing homers to Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout, but otherwise gave the Rays another solid outing, working into the eighth and scattering seven hits.

  4. Rays journal: Brad Miller won't return from DL when eligible

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — 2B Brad Miller (left abdominal strain) will not return from the 10-day disabled list Friday as he hoped. While he took ground balls Tuesday, he has yet to resume running.

    Rays second baseman Brad Miller, left, with infielder Tim Beckham, says he’s letting his left abdominal strain “cool down” before testing it by running.
  5. USF baseball rallies to beat Tulane in AAC tournament opener


    CLEARWATER — With Tulane runners on first and second and two out in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday, USF's dugout watched as burly American Athletic Conference co-player of the year Hunter Williams' fly to left went deep.

    USF outfielder Chris Chatfield is congratulated by third-base coach Chris Cates after hitting a three-run homer in the third inning, tying the score at 3.