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Oakland A's opted out of the Scott Kazmir market

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The contradictory rumors on the Athletics and Scott Kazmir make sense now.

Scott Kazmir rakes an RBI single in June against the San Diego Padres.
Scott Kazmir rakes an RBI single in June against the San Diego Padres.
Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The Dodgers announced the signing of Scott Kazmir today, with Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reporting that the deal is for three years and $48 million, with an opt-out after the first year.

The timeline for the A's dropping out of the hunt for Kazmir seems to fall into place, with seemingly contradictory rumors simply a matter of changed circumstances in Kazmir's market:

  • December 18 (morning): The A's are rumored to be among several teams in the running for Kazmir, who is said to be sitting on "multiple three-year offers, probably in the $12-13 million dollar range."
  • December 18 (afternoon): The A's reportedly sign Henderson Alvarez to a deal, pending a physical, that ranges from $4.25 to $5.85 million depending on incentives met for games started.
  • December 19: The A's are rumored to still be seeking Scott Kazmir's services after signing Alvarez, according to CSN Bay Area's Joe Stiglich and the Bay Area News Group's John Hickey.
  • December 20: USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale tweets that the A's are among six teams considered "finalists" for Kazmir. It stands to mention that the Dodgers were not among those named finalists, though the Dodgers had had been mentioned off-and-on as interested in Kazmir for awhile.
  • December 21: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the A's have bowed out on Kazmir.
  • Before Christmas: Kazmir and the Dodgers agree to a deal, according to Dodger Talk Co-host David Vassegh, presumably pending a physical.
  • December 30: Kazmir signs with the Los Angeles Dodgers on a three-year, $48 million deal with a first year opt out.

Having to compete in a market that eventually led to a first-year opt out for Kazmir is probably a bigger deal than the ultimate money involved.

For the A's to match Los Angeles, they would have had to take on all of the downside risk of having a player perform so poorly he would not be able to do better than two years and $32 million in next year's extremely shallow pitching market. In doing so, the A's would cut off their upside if Kazmir does end up playing above his value in 2016.

Ultimately, the A's were simply outbid by teams willing to be happy with one year of a good Scott Kazmir against the risk of having to carry three years of a mediocre to bad/injured one. I think the A's have quite a few upside plays in the rotation already between Rich Hill and Henderson Alvarez, and their downsides are contained to just 2016. Stepping away from Kazmir's market was just fine with me.

One problem for Sonny Gray, however: