Here’s how far Scott Kazmir’s star has fallen: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the two-time All-Star–who’s still just 29 years old–has agreed to a deal with the independent league Sugarland Skeeters.
Apparently they play in Houston, which is where Kazmir is from.
Kazmir was released by the Angels in June of last year and has thrown for scouts several times since then while also pitching winter ball in the Dominican Republic, but no team has taken a flier on the formerly dominant left-hander.
His last effective season was in 2008 for the Rays when he threw 152 innings with a 3.49 ERA and 166 strikeouts. Since then Kazmir has a 5.54 ERA and just 6.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 55 starts and the most recent reports had him throwing in the high-80s.
The Braves released veteran infielder/outfielder Jose Bautista on Sunday, per a team announcement. Right-hander Lucas Sims was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett in a corresponding move.
Bautista, 37, was recruited by the Braves in mid-April as a potential third base option. He inked a minor league deal with the club and lasted just 12 games in the majors, during which he batted a meager .143/.250/.343 with three extra-base hits and a .593 OPS across 40 plate appearances. While he isn’t too far removed from his last productive season in the big leagues — he collected 40 home runs, a .250 average and 5.3 fWAR with the Blue Jays in 2015 — his power has been noticeably declining over the last three years, and it’s clear the Braves don’t have enough time or opportunity to wait for him to get his groove back.
Without Bautista, Johan Camargo is expected to handle the hot corner on a daily basis. The 24-year-old infielder is working through his sophomore season at the major league level and entered Sunday’s game batting .226/.368/.403 with six extra bases and a .772 OPS in 76 PA. General manager Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged that top infield prospect Austin Riley could also get a shot at playing third base sometime in 2018, though the club has no current plans to promote him from Triple-A at the moment.