The Indians and Scott Kazmir have expressed mutual interest in continuing their relationship, reports Chris Assenheimer of the Chronicle-Telegram. Kazmir has been a boon to the Indians’ pitching staff, finishing the season with a 4.04 ERA in 158 innings spanning 29 starts. The lefty averaged about a strikeout per inning pitched and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of nearly 3.5 to one.
It is especially impressive that Kazmir was on his way out of baseball, spending the 2012 season with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent league. In 64 innings with the Skeeters, he posted a 5.34 ERA with mediocre strikeout and walk rates.
Kazmir will turn 30 years old in January, which is a bit shocking considering everything he has experienced in his career already. As a top prospect in the Mets’ system, Kazmir was involved in one of the more controversial trades of the 2000’s, going to the Rays in the Victor Zambrano trade. With the Rays, Kazmir had immense success, helping them reach the World Series in 2008, where they lost to the Phillies. From 2005-08, he had a 3.51 ERA. In August 2009, the Rays sent him to the Angels, capitalizing on the lefty’s value before he hit free agency. Kazmir wasn’t the same. From 2009-11, he posted a 5.51 ERA. The Indians are hoping the worst is behind Kazmir and he can provide them a few years of reliable service in the latest chapter of his career.
Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:
Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.
They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.
Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.
Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.
So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.