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Scott Kazmir: Worth A Spring Training Invitation?

The former Rays and Angels lefthander was pretty awful for the last couple of years, but at 29 might still have some big-league seasons left in him.

Jed Jacobsohn

Since I didn't start enough of a firestorm with my Brett Jackson post, let me rile you up a bit more with this:

I was in favor of the Cubs taking a chance on Kazmir when he was released by the Angels in June 2011 and again last offseason. They didn't do it. Neither did anyone else -- Kazmir didn't pitch in organized baseball in 2012, instead throwing for the Sugar Land Express of the Atlantic League. Yes, that's right -- the same team Roger Clemens pitched for late last season. Kazmir wasn't very good there, either, posting a 5.34 ERA and 1.672 WHIP in 14 starts.

But that velocity sounds good. Kazmir's quick decline from his 2005-2008 peak with Tampa Bay screams out "elbow injury", although there was never any definitive proof of this. There were also hints of attitude issues.

In any case, I think it wouldn't hurt at all to give him a minor-league deal with a NRI to spring training. Kazmir will turn 29 in January -- younger than either Scott Baker or Scott Feldman, who have major-league deals with the Cubs -- and if the organization is looking for pitching depth, this might be a cheap way of getting it. If he's bad, just release him. If he's decent but not great, he starts at Iowa as an injury replacement.

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