Let's see. We have a veteran with injury issues, pitching for a team that's 9 games under .500 with just a couple months left in the season. Basically tied for last in the division and not far from last in the league. That veteran has been great, but he is a free agent at the end of the year.
The choice is simple:
- Keep Kazmir. The A's probably win a few more games the rest of the year but don't sniff the playoffs. After the season, they make a qualifying offer, Kazmir signs somewhere else for three years and $50 million, and the A's will get the ~40th pick in next year's draft.
- Trade Kazmir. Probably lose a couple more games than they would have, get two very good to great prospects who could help the team in 2016-2017 (or sooner as part of a trade for AAA or MLB players).
Scott Kazmir, just a couple of months from free agency, was not going to sign a lowball extension and stay with the club. The club was not going to afford a market-rate extension. While the A's gambled on his injury risk once, it was only for two years, and it was when Kazmir was two years younger than he is now. This is perhaps the best year of Kazmir's career, ever, if you look at how deep into games he is able to pitch. There is almost no chance he has another year like 2014 and 2015 again. Why let him go for basically nothing, a draft pick that may or may not help four years down the line?
If the A's were contending they wouldn't trade Kazmir for two minor leaguers. Why do you think he was signed? To help the A's get to the playoffs and eventually win a World Series. It didn't work out. It doesn't work out for 29 teams every year. So what? Get while the gettin's good.
I have been pulling for a Kazmir trade from the start. There's no chance the A's would have extended him. There's no chance the A's would have made the playoffs. There is a strong chance that both of the players received for Kazmir, will help the A's in the not-too-distant future. What is not to like about this trade?
The loudmouth journalists in the Bay Area have opened their loud mouths. So I'm opening mine back. Do you want to compare the A's to the Giants? And say that Brian Sabean knows how to keep players while Billy Beane is trade-happy? So what? Being "trade happy" is what has made the A's competitive over the years.
If Beane had ownership who looked more at the appreciation of their franchise versus year-to-year profits (seriously Lew, the A's have appreciated more than 3x since you took over. It's probably not a bad idea to put some money into this thing) then maybe the criticism is warranted. If Wolff and co-owner John Fisher were actually building a new stadium versus complaining about wanting one, then maybe the criticism is warranted. But they are not and Beane is stuck with hard cap on MLB payroll of 50% of revenues. Those revenues have been a lot higher recently due to the A's recent winning ways, but they are not "we can pay an over-the-hill pitcher $17 million a year and if it doesn't work out it doesn't really matter" levels of payroll. It's still about winning on a budget for the A's, always has and always will be unless there's an ownership change or a stadium change.
Honestly everyone whining about the Kazmir trade just looks like an ostrich with their head in the sand. Did you think the A's had a chance to win the World Series this year? Did you think that the A's had a chance to re-sign Kazmir? Seriously? If your answer is "no" to both of those questions (which it should be) then a Kazmir trade is far and away the best thing for this team.
My feeling is that this is about leftover angst at the Donaldson, Moss, perhaps Norris, and especially Cespedes trades. That angst may be warranted on the past trades. Certainly some did not pan out and others may not pan out. I'm still mad about the Cespedes trade. But come on people, I thought you had higher standards than lazy comparisons to the Giants and ignorant whining. This kind of "analysis" is "journalism" at its worst.