The Detroit Tigers need a starting pitcher if they plan on contending for a playoff spot this season. Anyone who has watched this team over the past couple months knows this. Thankfully, the Tigers aren't resting on their laurels. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Tigers are among several teams scouting Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Scott Kazmir, who is pitching against the Minnesota Twins at O.Co Coliseum tonight.
Kazmir, a 31-year-old lefthander who previously pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Angels, and Cleveland Indians, is currently enjoying one of the best seasons of his career. He only has a 5-5 record, but is holding opponents to a 2.49 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in 101 1/3 innings. His 3.16 FIP is also currently a career-best. He made the AL All-Star team with the A's in 2014, the third appearance of his career.
Kazmir is one of the more interesting stories around baseball these days. Once considered the ace of some bad Tampa teams (during their Devil Rays days), Kazmir was traded to the Angels in 2009. He started having all sorts of arm trouble almost immediately after arriving in Los Angeles, however, and only logged 188 innings in three seasons.
After being released by the Angels in 2011, Kazmir pitched for the Sugar Land Skeeters, an independent league team, in 2012. The Indians signed him to a contract for the 2013 season, where he put together a 4.04 ERA and 3.51 FIP in 158 innings. The A's signed him to a two-year, $22 million contract prior to the 2014 season, and he has compiled 5.1 fWAR in nearly 300 innings for Oakland.
A free agent after the season, Kazmir would be slightly less expensive than a two-month rental for Johnny Cueto. The A's have the worst record in the American League at 41-51, and will be expected to move several of their more expensive pieces (including utility wizard Ben Zobrist) at the trade deadline. The Tigers and A's haven't interacted much at the traded deadline in seasons past -- we're intentionally ignoring the Scott Sizemore-David Purcey deal -- but with how active Dave Dombrowski and Billy Beane often are, it's possible that the two teams make a move in 2015.