Pirates to Meet With Scott Kazmir’s Representatives

Most of the starting pitchers who have been connected to the Pirates have been reclamation projects, and one of those starters went off the board today when Trevor Cahill re-signed with the Cubs. The latest rumor from Travis Sawchik has the Pirates looking at a different class of starter.

This probably doesn’t tell us much, since these are the winter meetings, and teams spend this time meeting with other teams, players, and agents. It does show that there is interest in Kazmir from the Pirates’ side, even if that’s only to check on price and interest from Kazmir. The price could be high, according to Ken Rosenthal.

The lack of draft pick compensation makes Kazmir very appealing. He’s averaged about 2.8 WAR in each of the last three seasons, which would put his price at about $16.8 M at $6 M per WAR. He’s also a lefty who will be 32 next year, with a history of injury problems, so that has to be considered. That said, the high prices on the current market might make that irrelevant. If J.A. Happ can get $12 M per year guaranteed for three years at a year older than Kazmir and with less of a track record, then Kazmir could expect a pretty big deal.

To his credit, Kazmir has pitched 180+ innings in each of the last two seasons, and pitched 163 innings between the minors and majors in 2013 after missing most or all of the previous two seasons. The Pirates have also done a good job of keeping players healthy at the major league level, including the historically injury prone Francisco Liriano.

Kazmir would be a great fit for the Pirates. They could afford him if they ended up shedding salary with trades of Mark Melancon and/or Neil Walker. That would probably be their big addition of the off-season if it played out, with the other additions being lower cost guys in terms of payroll.

It’s not out of the question that the Pirates would spend to get a guy like Kazmir. Last off-season they brought Francisco Liriano back at three years and $39 M. Kazmir would probably cost more, but wouldn’t be out of their price range.

  • I’m a bit scared of this guy. Might be just because I live in Houston and saw what he did at the end of the season, but he absolutely sucked in the month of September so maybe that is leaving a bad taste in my mouth (kind of what have you done for me lately thing).

  • Why not sign Kazmir to a 4/60 type deal, but backload it if possibly and give him an optout after the third year. He could hit FA again at 35, and we could possibly get out of the deal without having to pay him that one large season salary.
    I don’t actually see him accepting that type of deal, but it is something to consider.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    December 7, 2015 8:27 pm

    How much salary did the team already shed with guys like Ramirez, Alvarez, Bastardo, Blanton, Burnett all gone? All combined, that has to come fairly close to what Kazmir may take on an annual basis?

  • If they do get moreland don’t be surprised that Tolleson comes with him as melancon replacement. The rangers are shopping him as of today too

  • I think it is sad that we have to say a 15 mil or so per pitcher is in the pirates price range if the pirates trade melancon and walker. If we have to drop two of our top players to afford not a 1 or 2 starter but a 3, that does not the bode well for the future

  • Anyone hearing rumors of Mark Melancon for Mike Fiers?

    • Would make sense if he was the replacement for Morton in a Moreland trade.

      • Unless HOU is nice enough to overpay a bit, it’d seem like that’d be it for that deal….leaving is with need to find a late inning reliever after already making the trades we could have found a low buy late inning guy in.

        That rumor did have us throwing in a lower level hitter and receiving a relief arm back, which would greatly impact my thoughts of the deal. Give me one of either Harris/Fields/Feliz and im happy.

    • Or the crazy Diaz for Moreland rumor

  • LLOYD likey Kazmir and Moreland. Get’r Done!!!!



  • The Pirates NEED Kazmir if you ask me. We missed out on Happ…and we need another lefty for the middle of the rotation. The Cubs and Cards have struggled against lefties and even our top prospects are all righties. We need another lefty and we need to spend to add a piece to this rotation.

  • Charlie Morton September ’15: 7.66 ERA / 5.64 FIP
    Scott Kazmir September ’15: 6.52 ERA / 7.03 FIP

    Ergo, Kazmir is a headcase who can’t give his team a chance to win the Division. Am I doing the baseballs right?

    • Dont be stupid.

      He didnt do in as a Pirate, so its obviously weighted far less heavily as Morton doing it as a Pirate.

      • Kaz has a bit better track record as a starter in this league, plus he’s never had the privilege of working with Ray Searage. Happ was pretty awful before he came to Pit among others

        • Oh man. Its becoming a privilege now.

          • The Astros turned Dallas Keuchel into a f*cking Cy Young award winner and couldn’t do anything with Kazmir, but it would be a privilege for Kaz to pitch for Searage. Christ.

        • Here’s what troubles me about the Happ thing… NH himself said on multiple occasions that the Bucs had been looking at Happ for 2-3 years because they were intrigued by his ability. So they finally acquire him. And he’s terrific.

          If NH wanted Happ because he felt there was something there – and that something definitely was there – why the hell let him walk over a million or two AAV? If the guy is throwing 94 consistently at age 32, he’s likely not prone to a massive decline over a 3 year deal.

          And now we’re talking about paying even more for an older injury-prone Kazmir? And also thinking about Masterson of the 1.6 WHIP, who tops out at 88mph these days (and Walker’s defense likely still at 2b). The latter is hardly a Burnett/Volquez/Happ project.

          I get the feeling that in the course of 4 months, Neal made one of his most brilliant moves and one of his dumbest in both acquiring and then not re-signing Happ. Just my opinion, ymmv.

  • It’s being reported that the Ray’s may be interested in trading Smyly… He’s been an excellent arm when healthy and is quite controllable.
    What kind of return do the Ray’s always look for… prospects – which is what we have to deal from.
    I like Smyly about as much as Kasmir due to the $ savings which could be applied elsewhere.

    • I’m actually on board with that idea although with Kazmir, we keep all of our prospects.

    • Start by taking James Loney’s salary off their books, then hope they really really like Harold Ramirez as the centerpiece of a prospect deal.

      • Yes all pirate fans will be happy they get to experience their man-crush with Jimmy Loney!

  • Kazmir wants to play with the pirates because his walk up song will be Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir.

  • Well if you were considering Leake..Don’t . Looking at a deal in the Range of 5 years 75-80 million

  • I think Kazmir is a must add. He provides a decent number 3 and allows us the opportunity to not rely on a reclamation project like Masterson to play well. Plus he is relatively “cheap” and doesn’t require a draft pick. I wouldn’t mind seeing Masterson or another rec project come in, but signing Kazmir eliminates the need to have someone like that succeed.

    If we can land Moreland for a B hitter and C pitcher prospect, sign Kazmir, Masteron, and fill in our bullpen, I’d consider this winter meeting a success. It’ll be interesting to see how this week plays out.

    • I want to say playing the Cubs and Cards the more LH pitching we have the better.

      • I agree. He almost seems too good a fit. It just makes so much sense and with the way prices for pitching have gone through the roof this year, getting Kazmir for 15 M a year may seem like a bargain in a year or 2 similar to what Liriano looks like now.

    • I would be HAPPy (get it?) with Kazmir, Masterson or Alvarez and Moreland.

  • Kasmir is similar to Happ, with velocities hitting 95, lefty, with perhaps a better changeup. I don’t think Kasmir is better than Liriano, so what kind of deal was the Liriano signing last year! Geez he’d be $50 mil easy this year.
    The market is indeed shifting quickly… I’m inclined to sign Jeff Locke up based on the prices recently. 3/20 – 4/25?
    Resign Tom Gorzelanny as a starter, Ian Kennedy, Matt Latos, Kenta Maeda, Yusmeiro Petit… I’d even consider signing Neftali Feliz and returning him to a starter.
    Those are the good options beyond Kasmir…. It’s not the best lineup of options out there

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    December 7, 2015 3:48 pm

    Now, this would be a good move…keeping fingers crossed…probably a long shot, given there are several teams in on Kazmir….he would be a great #3 – the rotation could then be filled with Glasnow and a pitcher TBD. Later in the year Kingham and Taillon come into play…

    • Taillon should be an option in 2016

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        December 7, 2015 3:57 pm

        Yes, but not likely from the start of the season…at least, from what I’ve read…same with Kingham…

        • Def not from start of season . Neither will Glasnow

          • BuccosFanStuckinMD
            December 7, 2015 8:29 pm

            Glasnow would be, if the team would actually give him a chance to earn a spot on the roster and in the rotation. If the Pirates management ran the Mets, DeGrom and Synnegard would likely still be in AAA….

            • Jacob DeGrom was in rookie ball at age 22, A ball at 24, and spent time at AA at 25.

              Glasnow is a weee bit advanced from the DeGrom method, and a whopping year behind the age arrival of Syndergaaarrdddd.

              Matz came up at 24, Harvey at 23. Glasnow fully capable of coming up at 23, Cole came up at 22. Congrats, your wish of PGH operating similar to the Mets with young pitchers is already true.

            • You are really….unbelievable ! Ha ha…oh man.

    • I do not see them rushing Glasnow up this year. It wouldn’t surprise me if he is a Sept call up. It all depends on his ability to throw strikes.

  • Walk out of Nashville with a decent SP like Kazmir and a 1B like Moreland that’s good work. but let’s see

  • I would still rather have Mike Leake.

  • Zachary Asman
    December 7, 2015 3:33 pm

    I don’t think there is any doubt we can afford a contract like this. My gut feeling is, our biggest pain point is number of year, rather than AAV.

  • The Pirates won’t be winning a bidding war for a guy with QO compensation attached making this specific discussion of Kazmir fun but pointless. However, their seeming willingness to give up their first draft pick is very, very surprising and could open them up to late-winter deals for the Ian Kennedy types who may see their value drop.

  • when is the pirates local tv contract up?

  • I don’t think the deal would be unfair, but given the payroll constraints the Pirates face, I would probably prefer they spend around the same, or perhaps more, to get someone who has a better track record health wise. Kazmir would be a good addition even with the high salary absent the health risks, but man, this scares me health wise. I think the potential to really set the Pirates back would be too much for me.
    For example, honestly, I would rather pay more per year for Mike Leake. Just throwing it out there as an example.

  • I think the Pirates could afford Kazmir. They have ~$37M coming off the books next year ($4M Cervelli/Stewart, $4.5M Morse, $10.5M Walker, $8M Morton, $10M Melancon). And likely minimum salary replacements of E Diaz, A Hanson, J Bell, Glasnow, Taillon.

    They may have to go a little over-budget this year, but it should come back to them next year. Only Cole’s annual salary will go up substantially next year (maybe Watson).

    Plug him in now and payroll is ~$110M. But could easily be kept at $110M in 2017 without letting any key parts go.

    • PiratesFan1975
      December 7, 2015 3:40 pm

      Cutch, Marte, Harrison are a $5.5M increase. In arbitration Watson, Cole, Mercer and Hughes are probably at least a $12M. That may be a little light though. Especially if Watson racks up saves. So maybe a $17.5M increase on those 7 roster spots.

    • Excellent point. Because of injuries, the talent pipeline got clogged up this past season. Had Kingham and Taillon been healthy, they’d have both made their debut in Pittsburgh last season and we wouldn’t have a gaping hole in the rotation now. By the end of this coming season, we’ll likely see both of them PLUS Glasnow. What we need is someone who can hold the fort until they arrive.

      Long story short, the core of the 2017 team will be its stable full of young, cost-controlled pitching. If we have to overspend (at least by Pirate standards) to bring in a proven starter to avoid getting off to a slow start in 2016, we should budget the additional expense by averaging the two years together, not looking at 2016 in a vacuum.

      • I totally believe that small market teams need to adopt that approach. But they never have.

  • signing Kazmir is an investment not just short term but long term even beyond Liriano’s contract. Contract prices are bound to continue to rise. Paying Kazmir…15/16 mil per year in 3 years may look like a steal if he can produce at his talent level.

  • $6M/WAR is so…2014. Based on the early signings, the going rate is closer to $8M.

  • Do it! Considering the money saved not signing Happ, AJ retiring and letting Pedro go, he could be signed without adding any money.