Scott Kazmir is playing for the Sugarland Skeeters now

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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.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?