The San Diego Padres were among four teams who were on hand to watch veteran left hander and current Cleveland Indians pitcher Scott Kazmir throw a B game in Goodyear, Ariz on Wednesday.
According to Hardballtalk.com, Kazmir’s fastball was clocked in the low 90s, and he worked extensively on throwing his breaking pitches. The latter ended up being the reason he asked for the game in the first place, and according to at least one scout, he was impressive enough to raise some discussion.
He struggled with location, which is expected for anyone who’s been out of the game, but he struck out four of the first six batters he faced, three of them swinging. Kazmir’s control has always been his biggest issue, dating back to his last major-league action in 2011. The 29-year-old is still in his prime from a physical standpoint, and if he can get some semblance of command back, he could be an attractive buy-low, low-risk type of acquisition for a team like San Diego.
He signed as a free agent with the Indians on December 21, 2012 after being released by the Los Angeles Angels in 2011. His best years were in 2006 and 2008 where he was selected as an American League All-Star.
Freddy Garcia and Casey Kelly, both invitees trying to win jobs in the starting rotation this spring, have struggled thus far in Cactus League play. It stands to reason that despite all of the arms in camp, the Padres may want to look at potential targets for down the road. Strong left-handed pitching is an especially valuable commodity at Petco Park due to the friendlier ballpark layout for left-handed hitters.
As of now, the only way to acquire Kazmir would be via trade, as the Indians won’t likely release him if he shows he’s healthy and can play. Because he’s far removed from his All-Star form, the Padres would be able to acquire him for very little.