Thursday, December 31, 2015

Hot Stove Update: Dodgers Add Scott Kazmir

The Dodgers today agreed to terms with free agent LHP Scott Kazmir.  This signing comes as no surprise as Kazmir was one of the better pitchers left on the FA market and he has a history with Dodgers VP Andrew Friedman from back their Rays days.  The contract is for 3 years/$48 M or $16 M AAV.  Kazmir can opt out after 1 year.  So, if Kazmir opts out, the Dodgers would almost certainly give him a QO which would give them another draft pick if he leaves.  OK, let's see Dave Cameron spin THAT as being not team friendly!

A few commenters over on another Giants oriented website sound like they are about to go jump off the Golden Gate Bridge over this deal.  Really?  Kazmir has stretches where he is really good, but he also runs very hot and cold.  He was terrible down the stretch last year with an ERA of 3.94 in August and 6.52 in September.  In addition, while he had a shiny overall ERA of 3.10 last year, his FIP was 3.98 and his xFIP was 4.14.  His career ERA?  3.96.  In addition, Kazmir has had significant injury issues on and off throughout his career.

One novelty of this signing that has a lot of people buzzing is the prospect of a Dodgers rotation of 5 LHP's, Kershaw, Anderson, Kazmir, Wood and Ryu.  Apparently that is something that has never occurred before in MLB.  The Washington Senators had a 4-man rotation of all LHP's in 1954.  I assume there is a reason nobody has heard of any of them.  The Giants had a 15 game stretch in 1979 where they started all LHP's.  The starters in that short-lived 4 man rotation were Vida Blue, Rob Knepper, Phil Nastu and John Curtis.  The Dodgers of 1965 had 3 of 4 SP's left-handed and were the only team to start lefties in 100 or more games and win a championship.  The 3 lefties were  Koufax, Osteen and Podres.  The White Sox last year had 4 of 5 starting pitchers throwing from the south side of their bodies:  Chris Sale, Carlos Rodon, John Danks and Jose Quintana.  The ChiSox also had 4 lefties in their rotation in 2013:  Sale, Danks, Quintana and Hector Santiago.

I do not believe that handedness is a significant issue in the starting rotation.  Approximately 50% of the top 100 hitters in MLB by OPS either bat from the left side or switch-hit.  If the 5 best SP's available to you are all LHP's teams should not hesitate to run all 5 out there.  You do not mix and match starting pitchers.  You do not skip Madison Bumgarner's spot in the rotation because you are facing a righty-heavy lineup!  The Dodgers are not going to trade Julio Urias because they have too many LHP's!  Where handedness is important is in the bullpen where you want to be able to play matchups late in a game.  You need at least 2 LHP's in your bullpen and not more than 3.  The only situation where a 5 man lefty rotation might bite is if you run into a righty-heavy lineup in a postseason series.

In summary, as a Giants fan, I am not terribly worried about the Dodgers adding Kazmir, not because he is a LHP, but because he really isn't all that good.  Oh, and signing Marlon Byrd to be the RH platoon bat in LF just got a whole lot more likely!


  1. I like Kazmir in the same way I like Peavy. Should be a solid arm. He's not a replacement for Greinke though. The handedness thing is kind of weird. Might give Mac a better jump on LF than Parker.

  2. I agree, I am not worried about this signing and I am glad the Giants did not sign the guy. Despite some recent success, IMO he is still way too inconsistent and can be very bad at times. Not worried at all looking at the Dodgers rotation, ours still stacks up very favorable.

    Billy Baseball

  3. Yeah, to agree with y'all, Kazmir is a solid enough guy to have in your rotation, but he's not a guy you mark on your calendar. I like our chances against the 'Odgers this year. Actually, the Snakes may be the team we're really competing with.

  4. I like Kazmir. I think he's a good pitcher and a solid 3.6ish ERA kind of guy who had some good luck last year and put up better numbers than his pitching actually generated. I'd have been happy for the Giants to have signed him. But I'm happier with Samardzija and Cueto.