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The Cubs And Scott Kazmir, Free Agent

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Here's another pitcher the Cubs could sign.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Kazmir has had two big-league careers.

The first came after he was traded to the then-Devil Rays from the Mets (who had made him their No. 1 pick in 2002; he was a top-12 prospect in 2003, 2004 and 2005 according to Baseball America) for Victor Zambrano. Yes, that's how long Kazmir has been around.

He had some good years in Tampa, including pitching three full seasons for Joe Maddon (2006, 2007 and 2008). He's thus got World Series experience.

Then it all went south for Kazmir. Injuries derailed a guy who once led the A.L. in strikeouts (239 in 2007). He was traded to the Angels, had a bad year and was released in 2011, just 27 years old. This was about the time that I really wanted the Cubs to take a chance on signing him. It would have been a no-risk signing; if he sucked, he could have been released.

Reinventing himself (and with much better walk ratios), he had a pretty good year for the Indians in 2013, then signed a two-year deal with the Athletics. Another good season in 2014 and a good half-season in 2015 got him traded to the Astros after the A's dropped out of contention this past year.

Kazmir will be 31 in January. The caveat to signing him is that he really didn't pitch all that well after the trade to Houston; he gave up a lot of home runs (13 in 73⅓ innings) and his K/9 ratio dropped from 8.3 with the A's to 6.6 with Houston.

He might wind up staying in Houston, which is where he grew up. On the other hand, that sort of thing doesn't seem to mean all that much to modern players. Joe Maddon certainly knows Kazmir well, so that could be a factor.

With the caution mentioned above, I still think Kazmir might be a good signing. He'll certainly cost a lot less than someone like David Price, which could leave room for other signings.

Let us all know what you think in the comments, and vote in the poll.