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The Kazmir Acquisition: What does it mean for Houston?


Scott Kazmir is on his way to Houston via a trade with the Oakland A’s.

Since Kazmir is essentially a rental, the Astros were not forced to dig deeply in the prize closet to acquire the Houston native.

There are several questions, so let’s start there:

Who moves out of the rotation.

  • You could argue that Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Lance McCullers and even Scott Feldman will continue to be essentials in the rotation. Vincent Velasquez will also remain a viable option, but could be moved either back to Corpus Christi or Fresno or possibly to the bullpen to keep his innings down.
  • Likely scenario: For now, Kazmir will slot in somewhere between two of the righties and provide a nice 1-2-3 punch with Keuchel and McHugh. It’s possible, if not likely, that Velasquez and McCullers could end up in a tandem situation or the Astros could exhaust most of the innings remaining for McCullers while Velasquez stays fresh in the bullpen. At the appropriate time, McCullers and Velasquez might flip roles.

Can or should the Astros try to keep Kazmir as part of the 2016-17 mix?

  • Since Jeff Luhnow pursued Kazmir two years ago before he signed with the A’s, it shouldn’t be surprising to hear soon that Houston is pursuing a deal. Luhnow has said the Kazmir acquisition gives the Astros’ the strongest rotation depth in the American League.
  • Likely scenario: Astros sign Kazmir to two-year deal with an option for 2018.

Can the Astros win the divsion and go deep into the playoffs without adding other players?

  • So many variables, but it seems obvious that Luhnow will need to add another bat or two for the stretch run. The return of Jed Lowrie and George Springer will help, but it may be a gamble to depend on them to bounce back quickly. Depending on where Lowrie plays, first base and designated hitter may still be a black hole.
  • Likely scenario: Lowrie plugs in at third and Preston Tucker moves to DH once Springer returns. Still, with a stable of players still in the system, Luhnow may well pick up another bat for the middle of the order.
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About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in Colorado Springs, CO, and is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 40 years. A native of Natchitoches, La., Chip enjoys watching baseball at most any level, especially pro and college. Several years ago, he worked as an associate of Pastor John Bosman, who enjoyed giving nick names to his staff. He came up with Chipalatta, and it’s stuck.

67 comments on “The Kazmir Acquisition: What does it mean for Houston?

  1. Zanuda
    July 23, 2015

    If Tucker moves to DH where does Gattis go? Also who gets sent down, released, etc., when Springer and Lowrie return. Interesting dilemma.
    Welcome to the club Scott Kazmir. Where’s that Led Zeppelin music?

    Like

    • Old Senior
      July 23, 2015

      My predictions: 1) Singleton goes back to Fresno and 2) Hoes get traded. Maybe add Jay Bruce for the bat???? Hernandez released? Just purely a guess. Waiting for the next shoe to drop!

      Like

  2. rj
    July 23, 2015

    very good trade for this year. i hope he signs for a couple more. hate to lose up and coming guys, but you gotta give some to get some. this starts the thinning out of the bottleneck, rule 5 etc. we needed to do.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      July 23, 2015

      Neither of the guys we traded were rule V eligible. We still have a big bottleneck there

      Like

  3. Mr. Bill
    July 23, 2015

    This one will be talked about for a long, long time. We have just made the As of tomorrow very, very happy. In Houston, I suspect we will remember this as the day Jeff Luhnow shot the Sheriff.

    But alas, the deed is done. Out, out damned spot! I hope at least Kazmir turns out to be a better late-in-career player for us than the last guy we brought in who had a name that began with the letter Kaz.

    Like

  4. Robert
    July 23, 2015

    If Luhnow is able to trade for another bat who do you foresee the targets being? Welcome home Scott Kazmir! Hopefully this is the start of a great relationship between him and the Astros.

    Like

  5. Kyle P.
    July 23, 2015

    Why would Tucker DH over Gattis? Wouldn’t we rather have Gattis at DH and Tucker in LF? With Springer or Rasmus in center and the other in right? At some point we have to accept that Marisnick is not doing anything offensively.

    Like

    • Kyle P.
      July 23, 2015

      More on this point: Marisnick’s average in April was .379 and he had 2 HR’s and 10 RBI’s and 8 SB’s, nearly three months later he has only had 3 HR’s, 4 SB’s and 11 RBI’s since with the following averages each month: May: .202, June: .143, July: .156. I understand he plays excellent defense but there is no reason for him to stay in the lineup once Springer is back.

      Like

      • daveb
        July 23, 2015

        Kyle, I’ve been through this issue here probably too much lately. I’m wearing some folks out. I think we’ll see some more movement soon on multiple fronts. It’s too bad Jake has not been able to hit. He’s fun to watch otherwise.

        Like

  6. drbill14
    July 23, 2015

    Scratching my head a little describing DH as a black hole. Gattis in May, June and July has led the league in RBI and makes a lot more contact than Carter. I see 3B as more of an offensive empty spot. Lowrie might help both 1B and 3B platooning both spots. Great to see Kazmir coming here. My son played with him at Cy Falls and Scott has sponsored my grandsons’ youth teams. Great acquisition.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tim
      July 23, 2015

      I concur, Dr. Bill. I would rather have Gattis starting over Valbuena or Carter.

      Like

  7. Tim
    July 23, 2015

    Great trade! Only 2 low level prospects given up. Luhnow did well.

    Like

  8. rj
    July 23, 2015

    the team will have to make a roster move to add kazmir. i would guess hoes or marisnick if they have options left.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      July 23, 2015

      The way this GM thinks, I suspect Velasquez heads back to Corpus.

      Like

      • rj
        July 23, 2015

        that may be right mr, bill. or maybe vv goes to bullpen and roberto hernandez departs?

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        July 23, 2015

        RJ, I think we are paying Hernandez too much money to DFA him – especially since he’s actually been pretty decent in a long relief role.

        Like

  9. Dan P
    July 23, 2015

    So do you package Feldman and Carter and ??? in a trade for a real first baseman?
    Really sorry losing Nottingham – he was a strong performer at a position that is lacking, but he is just at A+ ball. Oh well, if we sign Kazmir to a couple extra seasons this will look even better.

    Like

    • Kevin
      July 23, 2015

      Is there a decent catcher out there, i think you may need to throw a 3rd person on that trade Villar?

      Like

      • Kevin
        July 23, 2015

        Grossman. Hoes???

        Like

    • daveb
      July 23, 2015

      Dan, Nottingham, at 20, is 6′ 2″ and 230. I think that translates into a Gattis sized guy in a few years, making him a question mark behind the plate long term, even with the arm he’s shown. He’s a DH sooner than later.

      Like

  10. drbill14
    July 23, 2015

    Probably won’t see a move until he is scheduled to pitch. Going to be another move when Lowrie comes back. Whole lotta shakin’ going on.

    Like

    • rj
      July 23, 2015

      have they announced when he starts? he was scheduled for the a’s on thursday, maybe he pitches fri in kc to keep on schedule. fun stuff these days.

      Like

  11. 1oldpro
    July 23, 2015

    This is the pinball that starts the game. The trade tells tells me that the Astros were not confident in Nottingham’s defense behind the plate at all because they did not have a power hitting catcher in sight, which meant he would be limited to DH and 1B. We have Reed and Gregor and the current two first baseman so, if Oakland coveted Nottingham that is why it happened. Between LMJ, VV, Feliz, Musgrove, Bostick, Paulino, Martes, Hauschild, Devenski, I did not see how Mengden was going to push his way in.
    This trade breaks the dam. It takes one to get it rolling, both in the league as a whole and for the club. I expect things will start to happen.
    With Kazmir in, that has to mean that Ober, as a starter, is in trouble. I don’t see three lefties in the rotation.
    I wonder if Nottingham will be around the AL West a long time.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      July 23, 2015

      I figure that after last year’s disastrous trades the A’s were just not going to get taken again – especially by a division rival. Unlike the Astros – who got very little, and low quality, from their salary dumping deals – the As have harvested two real potential superstars.

      Like

      • Steven
        July 23, 2015

        Nottingham has hit .267 through his minor league career. His walk rate is noticeably decreasing each level he goes up. He might be a slight plus hitter in the majors, along the lines of a .275 type with a little power, but probably won’t have a tremendously high OBP, strikes out too much for that level, and may not even be a catcher by the time he gets the bigs, if he gets to the bigs. Mengden is a guy that might have a shot as a back end guy, but more likely ends up a BP guy.

        If you love that .326 avg at A ball – you have to accept it came with an unsustainable BABIP of .385. That aint happening every year. If he is going to be struck out over 20% of the time by A pitchers, wait until AA. Or AAA. We didn’t give up a potential superstar.

        I am not exactly enamored with the deal, but not because of what we gave up. Kazmir helps, but I was hoping for a bigger fish that would have a bigger impact. Cueto would have been better, but you aren’t getting Cueto for those two. Kazmir helps though, and gives them a power arm for game 2 of the playoffs.

        Now there is still the question of where Zobrist goes.

        So far we answered the pitching question without giving up Reed, Philips, Kemp or Appel. Kemp seems like the perfect Beane target too – high OBP type with little power (and the power factor helps keep his long term cost down). Glad he is still here. Hopefully the Astros make a move to address CF. I know Rasmus CAN play CF, but his average is in a spiral and he is striking out a career high rate (and that took alot given his previous K rates). Marisnick might need to spend some more time at AAA to work on his hitting – though I suspect he just isn’t good enough in the end.

        Like

    • Mr. Bill
      July 23, 2015

      Obie is now – for the rest of the year at least – just an injury replacement. He’s AAA depth – low-cost, minimum limits insurance in case one of our aging starters (Kazmir or Feldman) flounders as the innings wear on in the heat of summer and/or gets injured and winds up on the DL.

      Like

  12. Mr. Bill
    July 23, 2015

    Another very interesting question is what all this means to/for Mark Appel – assuming, as is being speculated, Scott Kazmir signs a contract extension. With McCullers and Velasquez showing their brilliance, Mark’s highest ceiling now presently appears to be as a long shot to take over the fifth starter spot presently occupied by Scott Feldman – if, that is, he can get himself together before the charging hordes of Bostick, Marte, Holmes, Hader, Shirley, Devenski, Ferrell [not Riley] and/or Haushchild make him totally irrelevant.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      July 23, 2015

      I think this gives Appel more time. If Kasmir and the Astros extend, Appel can just pitch away at AAA next year because he won’t be rule V eligible till the end of 2016.
      If Kasmir signs somewhere else, Appel has a better chance to make the team next spring.
      I would be overjoyed with a 2016 rotation Of
      Keuchel,
      McCullers
      Kasmir
      McHugh
      Velasquez
      With Feldman as swingman and Rodgers, Appel, Devenski, Feliz Musgrove Hauschild sitting in AAA, that would be a heckuva way to start the year.

      Liked by 1 person

      • daveb
        July 23, 2015

        That’s the rotation I’ve got in my mind OP1, but someone always comes along and tricks me up.

        Like

      • Steven
        July 23, 2015

        I have to agree with the rotation. It looks like one that keeps us in most games.

        Bullpens are strange creatures. Best to just let that marinate and see what it tastes like after the rotation is set.

        Like

  13. drbill14
    July 23, 2015

    Seeing reports that VV is headed to the bullpen. Looks to me that portends Hernandez getting the DFA unless he can be moved in the next 24 hours. Glad to see this instead of VV going to Corpus. I think he can learn more under Strom’s wing although it looks like Brocail did help him on his latest CC stint.

    Like

  14. Becky
    July 23, 2015

    The Indians have discussed Carlos Corrasco. With the blue Jays. Oh my goodness that guy would be *huge* for a team like ours! The Indians would want the moon and the stars for him, but jeez he’s good. Kasmir will meet the team in Kansas City, he will start Friday, Feldman on sat. keuchel on Sunday. It will take an act of God to get luhnow to send Marisnick to Fresno. He’s luhnow’s golden boy. Singleton or hoes gets sent down. Now that we made the trade today, it ought to give the rest of this team a new spring in their step!! We’ll see how they react tonight. More to come, I’m sure of it.

    Like

  15. drbill14
    July 23, 2015

    Angels lose 3-0. Proves they’re human.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      July 24, 2015

      Uh huh, I see what you did there, Dr. Bill. In the realm of baseball, even the angels are human. 🙂

      Like

  16. Kevin
    July 23, 2015

    Hip Hip Hooray lets GO LMJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

  17. Kevin
    July 23, 2015

    I have to say I just took a breathe and got Giddy. How cool all this fun Astro’s talk is right now. It’s almost August and where in a pennant race. I would have never thought that in April. All you need to do is go back and read the posts on this bloggthe last 4 years and this is awesome!!!!

    Like

    • Billy C
      July 23, 2015

      and no bopert!

      Like

      • Kevin
        July 23, 2015

        That TOO!!!

        Like

  18. drbill14
    July 23, 2015

    Have had the chance to surf around various Astro sites this afternoon and have made some observations. First, there is a lot of favorable reaction to the trade but also a lot of hand wringing over what we gave up, especially Nottingham. I think that is an indication of just how bad the fan base was bruised over the past several years. The die hard fans had to transition into prospect watchers just so we would have a little joy and hope in our lives. I used to pay more attention to the minor league teams and some of their best players than the major league club. There are a lot of folks who have forgotten what its like to have a team that can contend season after season. I think this is the first day of a budding period of relevance for the Astros and I for one am really glad to see it come. I’m actually amused and somewhat dismayed at the angst shown over losing Nottingham. Sure he MIGHT be the next coming of Buster Posey but he also might be the next coming of Max Stassi. What I do know with 100% absolute certainty is that Scott Kazmir is a bona fide Major League pitcher who is a whole lot better than anyone in our system and can help us right now. I’m really tired of summers in Houston with a lousy baseball team. We have a good one now and one that just got better. Damn the long run, full speed ahead!

    PS: The long run is still looking REALLY GOOD!

    Liked by 2 people

    • drbill14
      July 23, 2015

      Not saying he’s better than Keuchel or others on the staff now but rather the options we have at AAA/AA.

      Like

    • Steven
      July 23, 2015

      Nottingham is nowhere near Buster Posey. I dont know anyone ever thought Stassi was any good. It’s amazing how some just think our minors are full of future hall of famers.

      Like

      • Steven
        July 23, 2015

        I meant, I don’t know HOW anyone ever thought Stassi was any good.

        Like

  19. 1oldpro
    July 23, 2015

    Stassi is a bit like Matt Dominguez and Chris Carter. All three have had one great month in their careers

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      July 23, 2015

      OP1, I guess we can add Jake Marisnick to that list of ‘one great month’ folks. Sort of like the ‘one hit wonders’ of the music business. Procol Harem, and ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’, and the Strawberry Alarm Clock, and ‘Incense and Peppermint’ come to mind. [Yes, I am indeed old.]

      As far as those who insist on spouting disdain and hate on prospects in general and the two we just gave up for a half season rental in particular, I get it. You want to win now, and to Hell with the future. Good luck with that. But believe it or not, some folks who aren’t nearly as stupid as you suppose really follow the Astro farm closely each and every day. Some of them have for years – in bad times as well as good. Believe it or not, it is very rare that a prospect shows something special – especially something that goes way beyond the stat sheet. Sometimes right before the eyes of someone who just pays attention young men grow and mature beyond anyone’s expectations in amazing ways and become players instead of prospects, winners instead of ‘also played the game’ roster fill-ins. And believe it or not, this organization, at long last, has a few – but only a few – more of them than most organizations. Nottingham was looking like one of those guys. Mengdel has talent, and might have eventually become one of those guys, but so far had not done so. Believe it or not, some who look at such things have begun to see something very special coming forth out of the ash heap of the last few years of major league frustration. Some who actually look ahead a year or two see real evidence of a possible dynasty developing – if but only if its star quality guys are nurtured and carefully guarded. Some believe that, if we play our cards right, the city of Houston could have something really, really special for years to come – our equivalent of a ‘Big Red Machine’. Maybe we will call it ‘Star Fleet’, or ”The Force’, or ‘Area 51’. But believe it or not, this dynasty of our dreams – something we can tell our grand-kids about with pride – can only happen if we don’t fritter it away in a panic just so we can add a short-term rental or two to a team whose offense struggles so badly against medium quality to excellent pitching most nights that 6 of its present position players [everybody not named Altuve, Tucker, and Correa] can’t even be counted on to regularly make productive outs, much less get hits and produce runs.

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        July 23, 2015

        So, we’ve now got Scott Kazmir. Good. But back to reality. We still have negative corner infield production, no CF production, and minimal C and RF production on the offensive side. And we have ZERO hitters in the top ten in either BA, OBP, HR, RBI, OBP, or WAR. So our rotation is are all dressed up – but where exactly do we think we are going to go?

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        July 23, 2015

        I was rockin’ out to Strawberry Alarm Clock in college. Do you remember when KLOL(K101) came on the air in the early seventies in Houston and played classic rock 24 hours a day. OMG!
        I liked Nottingham a lot. But he is 20 years old and he would not be ready to catch in the majors for at least three or four years years. I had his bat ready in 2017 if he turned out to be special. But where were you going to play him if he wasn’t ready to catch. I have AJ Reed as the first baseman on that 2017 team and Tucker at DH. It was going to be tough to fit him on the team anyway. Now he buys Kazmir for us instead.

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        July 23, 2015

        OP1, here’s how I had it envisioned for 2017:
        Kemp in LF
        Altuve at 2B
        Tucker at DH vs righties; Nottingham at DH vs. lefties
        Correa at SS
        Reed at 1B
        Phillips in CF
        Springer in RF
        Moran at 3B [maybe Bregman, but I doubt he’ll be ready at first of year]
        Heineman at C [2nd catcher Nottingham]

        I would expect to see Sclafani as our IF supersub and Santana or Fisher as our extra outfielder. I expected to see Tucker to work hard on becoming a backup 1B.

        Like

      • Steven
        July 24, 2015

        Well, I don’t take kindly to be called stupid. Nottingham is not a very good prospect. He did not make the smart peoples top 100 list, or even top 200 list at any point in the last 2 + years. Mengden is an afterthought to most scouts. You called them potential susperstars, I am just quoting the “smart” people. Matter of fact, the Astros only have 2 guys on the current top 50 list, and neither of them are named Reed. I got it, I think the lists miss a lot too, and I think they’ve missed on Reed. I am just trying to figure out who you think is “smart.”

        Like

      • Steven
        July 24, 2015

        And Bill – getting your rotation all dressed up is how you win, seasons anyway. The Braves did it for years. Now they did prove that if you don’t have some offense you are going to struggle in short series – as attested by their 16 postseason appearances that gave them 1 WS win, but you want to win 90+ games you do it by having 5 guys that walk out there night after night and give you 7 innings, 2 run ball – not by having an ace like Keuchel, followed by 5 innings, 1 run guy, another 5 innings, 2 run guy, another 3 inning 6 run guy, etc. Give me that ace follwed by Kazmir, sprinkle in McCullers, give me a little McHugh, and its a lot better. Replace Feldman this time next year with Appel or VV – whichever one shows us the stuff – and run with it. You can win 90 games without a single guy in the top 10 in OBP, BA, etc.

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        July 24, 2015

        Steven, I never called you ‘stupid’. I do not do such things. I do not call fellow contributors to this blog derogatory names, or personally demean them as you do constantly. If you look carefully at my post, where the word ‘stupid’ came into the discussion is where I said was that “some folks who aren’t nearly as STUPID AS YOU SUPPOSE really follow the Astro farm closely each and every day.” Stupid AS YOU SUPPOSE . . . ‘ is what I said, sir. Think about that. I was very clearly referring to people other than you, sir. The language is unambiguous. There are clearly people who contribute to this blog who consider anyone who values the few minor leaguers we have who excel and show real promise to be stupid. They have the right to their opinion of course. And they have the right and opportunity to express that opinion. But for you or anyone else to demonize, berate, and constantly insult the intelligence of people who think differently than you – which has been your modus operandi for some time now – is neither productive nor appreciated.

        Like

  20. Dan P
    July 23, 2015

    On the pregame they announced the rotation for the KC series:
    Friday – Kazmir
    Saturday – Feldman
    Sunday – Keuchel

    Like

  21. Becky
    July 23, 2015

    It’s good to be a houston astros fan!! It’s been a looong time since we could say that, and it makes me a happy girl!!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Dan P
    July 23, 2015

    I wish Marwin had run hard to first – then he would not have gotten thrown out at 3rd, but nice 2 run rally tonight to take the lead.

    Like

    • Dan P
      July 23, 2015

      And now 3 run rally…

      Like

  23. Billy C
    July 23, 2015

    Crap..cmon guys!

    Like

  24. Zanuda
    July 23, 2015

    Bull Pen having problems tonight.

    Like

  25. Becky
    July 23, 2015

    Gregson used three days in a row…..he won’t be available tomorrow night. I feel for Preston tucker…..you know he feels soooo bad about the ball he couldn’t get to. The kid is just not a very good left fielder. I’m greedy I want to sweep the red sox!

    Like

  26. Dan P
    July 23, 2015

    Altuve!!!!! Walkoff dinger!!!! Oh oh review coming.

    Like

  27. Becky
    July 23, 2015

    A. Walk. Off. Home. Run.!!!!!! Yaaaa Hoooooo!!!! Altuve!!!!!

    Like

  28. Zanuda
    July 23, 2015

    Yee Ha!

    Like

  29. Billy C
    July 23, 2015

    w00hoo!!! we win!!!

    Like

  30. astrocolt45
    July 23, 2015

    Great win. Of course no win is a bad win. On these talks of trades over 3 years or so, don’t forget that with Wandy, Astros had to kick in $15 Million over 3 years to get the deal done. That money could have signed a few prospects or gotten a FA of minimal talent.

    Like

  31. Becky
    July 23, 2015

    I watched the video like three time, and it never gets old!!! ((((( grinning *big*time)))))

    Like

  32. Dan P
    July 23, 2015

    I am proud of the way the team regrouped after the 6 game losing streak and took 5 of 6 on this homestand. Now they toss out the double Ks, Kazmir and Keuchel in 2 of the 3 games against the Royals. Exciting times!

    Like

  33. 1oldpro
    July 23, 2015

    The bullpen messes up and we still win. That is what we were doing in April and May.
    Tucker gets a pass for winning last night’s game. But, that play is why I would like to see him DH.

    Like

    • daveb
      July 24, 2015

      Tucker will work and turn himself into a serviceable outfielder, but yes, his real future is at DH.

      The bullpen issues are a trend to be concerned about.

      Like

  34. 1oldpro
    July 23, 2015

    Jacob Nottingham was in Lancaster tonight, playing for Stockton. Lancaster won handily, 6-1, as Nottingham had a single in four trips and had 1 K. Life changes fast.

    Like

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