On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Angels finally gave up on Scott Kazmir, the lefthanded starter who at one time had been one of the top prospects in the major leagues, releasing him and eating more than $13 million remaining on his contract.
Kazmir was the first-round draft pick of the New York Mets (15th overall) in the 2002 draft. Two years later, he was sent by the Mets to the then-Devil Rays in an ill-advised deal for a washed-up Victor Zambrano (that is, if you think Victor Z was ever good enough to be termed "washed up"). Kazmir finished ninth in American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2005 and led the AL in strikeouts in 2007 with 239, at age 23.
When he was dealt to the Angels in 2009 just before the waiver deadline on August 30, he put up six outstanding starts and helped the Angels into the playoffs. But since then he's been awful; he posted a 5.94 ERA in 2010, which would have been worst in the AL if he'd had 12 more innings pitched, and got pounded in his only 2011 major league start.
But Kazmir is only 27. And he is lefthanded. Should a team take a flyer on him, either at the minimum salary or on a minor league deal?