The Scott Kazmir Situation is Common Sense
The Cleveland Indians will make a qualifying offer to free agent pitcher Scott Kazmir. This information does not come from an inside source with the Indians nor do I have any relationship with his agent. No, this comes from the fact that I’m not the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz searching for a man behind a curtain to give me a brain.
To even entertain whether a player has a chance at a qualifying offer it is assumed that he had a good season or that the team is wealthy enough to warrant risking paying the corresponding one-year $14 million price tag should an injured player accept.
Scott Kazmir (158 innings, 4.04 ERA/3.51 FIP, K% of 24.1, and BB% of 7%) is an example of the former while Curtis Granderson (limited to 61 games due to injury) of the New York Yankees is an example of the latter.
For a more statistical, and yet highly entertaining, examination of Scott Kazmir’s 2013 season read Michael Hattery of Indians Prospect Insider: Trend Spotting: The case for retaining Scott Kazmir.
There are several variables that will take the soon to be (only) 30-year old Scott Kazmir on to the free agent market that his agent is well aware of and so are Chris Antonetti and the rest of the Indians front office.
The human element of free agency is always a big draw for any player and for Kazmir it is something that he is not going to delay a day more than he has to. He has earned the right to find out what his value is on the open market and he is going to test it.
He knows first hand how fleeting a major league career can be. The lure of a one-year $14 million dollar contract doesn’t answer the question of what could he earn on the open market?
Accepting a 1-year qualifying offer doesn’t provide long-term planning for a player. One of the perks of free agency is an opportunity to play where you want, set up your life for a number of seasons, and even work in full no-trade or limited no-trade giving you even more added security.
This off-season will be a good time to be a free agent as there are several deep pocket teams that performed poorly and thus have a protected first round draft pick. The Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, and Toronto Blue Jays all have protected first round draft picks and deep pockets.
Not to mention Kazmir’s hometown Houston Astros who have plenty of money to spend and could use a veteran pitcher like Kazmir to come on board as the team develops. It wouldn’t be the first time that Kazmir joined a team of young talented players and found the post-season.
The Indians would be the big winners of making a qualifying offer whether Kazmir accepts it or not. If he were to decline and sign elsewhere they would get a compensatory draft pick.
If he were to accept the offer the Indians enter spring training with a pitching staff featuring Justin Masterson, Kazmir, Corey Kluber, Zach McAllister, and Danny Salazar. A 1-year gamble on a left-handed top of the rotation starter (which is what he once was and what he showed flashes of in the second half) is not out of line.
The more intriguing question for me is not whether or not the Indians should make a qualifying offer – the question I have trouble answering is why in the world would an agent advise him to accept it?