Scott Kazmir held a workout for scouts today and Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that approximately 10 teams sent someone to take a look at him.
Kazmir’s fastball was clocked mostly in the high-80s, which is similar to the diminished velocity he’s shown while struggling during the past few seasons.
Kazmir is still just 28 years old, but hasn’t been healthy and effective in the same season since 2008 and was released by the Angels following just one start last year. Overall he has a 5.54 ERA and 210/141 K/BB ratio in 299 innings over the past three seasons, but Kazmir’s once-overpowering raw stuff has gradually deteriorated and he coughed up a remarkable 30 runs in 15 innings at Triple-A last year.
The fact that two-thirds of the teams didn’t bother sending anyone to scout Kazmir says a lot about his chances of getting back to the big leagues, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he landed a no-risk minor-league deal from one of the 10 teams in attendance.
Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston
David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.
Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.
In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.
Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”
Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.
The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:
“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”
As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.
It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.