The stunner of the waiver wire trading period (August), the Angels bolstered their rotation by adding one-time Tampa Rays ace Scott Kazmir to the pitching staff. Tampa gets pitcher Alexander Torres, third baseman Matthew Sweeney, and a player to be named later.
Angels Get: A legitimate rotation ace with a history of beating the Red Sox and Yankees, two teams that the Angels would likely face in the playoffs. Kazmir isn’t without his issues… He’s had a couple of nagging injuries and his control isn’t what it should be. But, he has a live arm, strikes batters out, and was a winner back when the Rays weren’t. Kazmir is signed through 2011 and the club would hold an option for 2012 – all at very reasonable prices for someone of Kazmir’s ability – especially if he can make 30 starts a year for the next three seasons.
Rays Get: Alexander Torres is a 21-year-old arm who looks a bit like a minor league version of Kazmir. He gets strikeouts, he walks a lot of guys, and he just got promoted to AA where he was figuring things out there. I like that in addition to the peripheral stats, he has a winning record. Matthew Sweeney is a 21-year-old third baseman who is two or three years away, but has power and is figuring out the strikezone. Of course, his future is blocked at third base by Evan Longoria, but he could move to first base by 2012 when Carlos Pena might start running out of years.
Winner? Hard not to like this as more beneficial for the Angels – but since it’s a pitcher, you just never know. Kazmir is a known quantity, he’s still young, and he’s successful. On the Angels, he could win 20 games in 34 starts. My fear is that the inability to control the strikezone might derail either Rays prospect – but in the case of the Rays, they also save some dough which will be needed to pay James Shields or David Price or Tim Beckham one day… I’ll give the slight edge to LA.