Kazmir is the first domino to fall this trade deadline season. The Astros had shown interest in him, along with other starting pitchers, such as Cole Hamels, Jeff Samardzija, and Johnny Cueto. Houston had prioritized starting pitching upgrades, and on Thursday, they got what they wanted.
The reason the Astros have wanted starting pitching is due to poor outings from the back half of their rotation. After Dallas Keuchel (2.12 ERA), Lance McCullers (2.52), and Collin McHugh (4.25 ERA; 3.81 FIP), the team has seen Roberto Hernandez, Scott Feldman, and others fail to perform to where they have wanted.
Houston is 53-43 and in second in the American League West. If the season ended today, they would be the American League's first Wild Card. This season is the first in awhile in which the team has had the opportunity to buy at the deadline.
Kazmir was seen in the Athletics' clubhouse this afternoon giving hugs to teammates. The trade signals the end of Kazmir's career in Oakland, where he has spent each of the past two years, including an All-Star appearance in 2014. He was scheduled to pitch today.
On the season, the 31-year-old Kazmir is 5-5 with a 2.38 ERA (3.09 FIP) in 18 starts. Over the 109 2/3 innings he's pitched, Kazmir has worked to a 101 to 35 strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.89 K/BB). He will definitely be the addition to the Astros' rotation that they needed.