Oakland Athletics' left-hander Scott Kazmir is not Cole Hamels.
Yet, at the Trade Deadline in two months, Kazmir could be the biggest bargain for any team in desperate need of some starting pitching help.
Kazmir has had a solid start to this season, going 2-3 with a 3.09 ERA (3.93 FIP) and a 53 to 22 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 55.1 innings pitched. With all the need out there for an extra starting pitcher, Kazmir's stock could increase in the coming months.
The Athletics' season has not started out hot, going 15-30 in their first 45 games. Knowing Billy Beane, the team is going to move some players in July. Kazmir is bound to be one of them.
Oakland inked Kazmir to a two-year, $22 million deal prior to the 2014 season, and the deal has gone exactly how they hoped, with Kazmir pitching to a mid-3 ERA including an All-Star season last year. With Kazmir becoming a free agent this winter, it does not make sense for the Athletics to keep him.
Possible suitors for Kazmir include the Dodgers, Blue Jays, Orioles, and even the Red Sox (if they can't get Cole Hamels). In my mind, all four of those clubs would be willing to give Beane the fair prospect price for Kazmir, which would probably be one or perhaps two intriguing lower-level prospects, similar to the Franklin Barreto addition in the Josh Donaldson deal.
With every good start he makes, Kazmir becomes more valuable in a trade. His first start, against the Rangers, showed exactly what he is capable of. He threw seven innings, allowing one hit and no runs, striking out ten and walking just two.
If that can't help the Blue Jays rotation with their 5.15 ERA, the Red Sox rotation with their 5.08 ERA, or the Dodgers with all the injuries to their rotation in Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy, I don't know what does.
His name isn't Cole Hamels, but instead it's Scott Kazmir. And he's looking to help a struggling rotation today (or in July).