The Astros acquired Scott Kazmir from the Athletics last week, but they are still thinking big as they make a push for the postseason. According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Astros “remain in the thick” of the bidding for Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels and are “making a big push” to get a deal done.
We heard yesterday that there is “momentum building” toward a trade involving Hamels, who threw a no-hitter against the Cubs on Saturday. The Dodgers and Rangers have been considered the favorites in recent days, but the Yankees, Giants, Cubs, Red Sox, and Diamondbacks are among the other possibilities. Hamels can block a trade to 20 teams and it’s unclear whether he would sign off on a trade to Houston.
Hamels, 31, owns a 3.64 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 137/39 K/BB ratio in 128 2/3 innings this season. He’s owed $22.5 million per season from 2016-2018 and his contract includes a $20 million club option or $6 million buyout for 2019.
In the past couple of years, the fun harbinger of trades is to watch players hug their teammates in the dugout during games. That’s a sure sign that they were just informed they were traded and they’re about to leave. We saw this last week with Scott Kazmir. It’s come to be called the “Hug Watch” on Twitter.
Here’s a new angle to it. As many, including our Drew Silva noted a few minutes ago, Tigers outfielder Rajai Davis just followed a crap-ton of Cardinals-related accounts on Twitter, including reporters and players. His most recent follows include the MLB.com reporter for the Cardinals, the Fox Sports Midwest people, Randall Grichuk, and a zillion other Cards players, some current, some former.
So: is the “scoop” on an alleged Rajai Davis trade his follow list, or is Davis just bored today and pulling everyone’s leg? Part of me hopes it’s the latter because that’d be pretty hilarious and subversive. Part of me hopes it’s the former because it further shows the inanity of caring about the “scoop” these days.
Now that the A’s are officially open for business following the Scott Kazmir trade Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that closer Tyler Clippard is the next impending free agent expected to be traded away from Oakland and “perhaps as soon as Monday.”
Clippard was acquired from the Nationals this offseason to act as the A’s setup man and instead stepped into the closer role with Sean Doolittle hurt. He’s been shaky at times thanks to poor control, but Clippard has a 2.79 ERA and .175 opponents’ batting average in 39 innings and has been an elite-level reliever since 2009.
According to Slusser the interested teams include the Yankees, Mets, and Nationals, for whom Clippard pitched from 2008-2014. And he actually came up with the Yankees in 2007 as a prospect before being traded to the Nationals.
Lefty Scott Kazmir dazzled in his Astros debut on Friday night, tossing seven scoreless innings against the Royals, the American League’s best team by record. He gave up three hits and a walk while striking out three on 91 pitches in a 4-0 victory.
The Astros acquired Kazmir on Thursday in exchange for pitcher Daniel Mengden and catcher Jacob Nottingham, both minor leaguers.
Kazmir slots in nicely behind Dallas Keuchel, giving the Astros a nice 1-2 punch. He entered Friday’s start with a 2.38 ERA and a 101/35 K/BB ratio over 109 2/3 innings spanning 18 starts. It’s a stunning career turnaround, considering Kazmir was playing in the Atlantic League with the Sugar Land Skeeters in 2012.
The Astros acquired Scott Kazmir from the Athletics on Thursday and Julia Morales of Root Sports passes along word that the veteran southpaw will debut with his new club tomorrow night against the Royals.
Kazmir has had a couple of health scares this year, but he has posted an excellent 2.38 ERA and 101/35 K/BB ratio over 109 2/3 innings and gives Houston a fine No. 2 alongside staff ace Dallas Keuchel. The Astros flipped two pretty good prospects, catcher Jacob Nottingham and right-hander Daniel Mengden, in order to get a deal done. The 31-year-old Kazmir is due to be a free agent this winter, but the Astros are clearly going for it. In fact, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle that he’s still talking about more deals.
Now that Kazmir will pitch Friday, the Astros will have Scott Feldman pitch Saturday and Keuchel on Sunday. Vincent Velasquez, who earned his first major league victory on Tuesday against the Red Sox, will pitch out of the bullpen for now.