2016 Dodgers in Review: LHP Scott Kazmir

Photo: Stacie Wheeler
IP K% BB% HR/9 ERA FIP xFIP WAR
MLB  136.1 22.7 8.8 1.39 4.56 4.48 4.19 1.1

What happened in 2016: A whole lot of inconsistency.

In December of 2015, the Dodgers signed Scott Kazmir to a three-year, $48 million contract, with the ability to opt out after the first year. Dustin covered the signing at the time, noting that it seemed like a reasonable deal for a guy who projected decently.

Kazmir began the season on a positive note, delivering six scoreless, one-hit innings against the Padres in his first Dodger start. Most of his starts would not be as successful. From Chad earlier this offseason:

The stuff was still there at least, as he struck out his highest percentage of batters since 2013 (22.7%) and his second-highest since 2008. However, the command wavered, as he walked the most batters he faced since 2011 (8.8%) and gave up an ugly total of 21 homers (1.39 HR/9). In the end, it shook out to a 0.9 RA9 WAR or a 1.3 FIP WAR, and he performed like a pitcher making ~$8 million instead of the $16 million guy they were expecting.

While Kazmir gets credit for being able to provide much-needed innings as the Dodgers dealt with a record number of injuries, he was frustrating to watch for much of the season, performing poorly more frequently than he performed well. Every time he had a good start, we’d wonder if maybe he’d finally figured things out, but that never seemed to actually be the case. Just once did he post two consecutive quality starts.

There certainly where flashes of promise, though. One of Kazmir’s best starts of the year came on May 14 against St. Louis. He came within an out of a complete game, but was removed after giving up a single and then a two-run home run:

The Dodgers won that game, 5-3.

Two starts later, Kazmir had another one of his better outings, fanning out 12 Reds in six innings:

On August 22, however, Kazmir exited a game in Cincinnati after just two and two-thirds innings. The next day, he was placed on the disabled list with neck inflammation. He would only make one more start that season, a month later, on September 23. He pitched just one inning in that outing, giving up two hits but no runs, before leaving that game dealing with, as Chad put it, “whatever intercostal spasms are.”

Kazmir did not make the Dodgers postseason roster.

2017 status: Kazmir did not opt out of his contract, so he’ll be back with the Dodgers next year. In an ideal world, with all starting pitcher options healthy, he’ll be competing for a spot as fifth starter. As Dustin wrote in November, a trade involving Kazmir is unlikely.

About Sarah Wexler

Sarah Wexler
Sarah Wexler is a native Angeleno and longtime Dodger fan. She began blogging about baseball in 2012 on her Tumblr, New Grass On The Field, where she covered an array of topics but especially enjoyed exploring baseball history. She now writes for The Hardball Times and FanGraphs. She recently earned her master's degree in Sports Management from Cal State Long Beach. She graduated from New York University in 2014 with a bachelor's in History and a minor in American Studies. She's an avid Springsteen fan, which is a big boost to her baseball writer cred.