According to a report from Bruce Levine, free agent left-hander Scott Kazmir on high on the Cubs’ list of free agent starting pitchers.
The Cubs are looking into the second tier of free agent starters according to Levine. Jeff Samardzija, John Lackey and Mike Leake have also been connected to the Cubs. Kazmir is not attached to draft pick compensation because he was dealt from Oakland to Houston in-season.
Of the four possible free agent starters the Cubs could be interested in signing, Kazmir and Leake did not receive qualifying offers and both Samardzija and Lackey rejected qualifying offers from the White Sox and Cardinals.
Kazmir was 5-5 with a 2.38 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 18 starts with the A’s. Kazmir allowed 35 runs, 29 earned, on 84 hits with 35 walks and 101 strikeouts in 109 2/3 innings. Kazmir did not have the same amount of success with the Astros.
In 13 starts with Houston, Kazmir was 2-6 with a 4.17 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. Kazmir gave up 42 runs, 34 earned, on 78 hits with 24 walks and 54 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings.
For the season, Kazmir posted a 7-11 record in 31 starts with a 3.10 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Kazmir completed 183 innings despite missing time prior to the trade to Houston with arm-related injuries. Kazmir surrendered 77 runs, 63 earned, on 162 hits with 155 strikeouts and 59 walks.
Scott Kazmir has ties with Joe Maddon from their days together in Tampa. Kazmir pitched for Maddon from 2006 until he was traded to the Angels on Aug. 29, 2009 for Matthew Sweeney, Alex Torres and a PTBNL that ended up being Sean Rodriguez.
Kazmir turns 32 in January and could be looking at a four-year contract for around $66 million according to Jim Bowden, which is a $16.5 million AAV. And when it comes to Kazmir there will always be concerns about his health.
The Cubs are believed to be looking for a veteran starter that can provide innings either in the third or fourth spot in the rotation. Kazmir has completed 200 or more innings only one time in his career and it was for Joe Maddon in 2007. Kazmir has totaled 190 1/3 and 183 innings the past two years.
With the financial commitment it will take, along with questions about his health, Scott Kazmir might not be what the front office is looking for to add to the Cubs roster.