Kazmir seeks comeback with Giants

February 23rd, 2021

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2016, but he’ll have a chance to stage his latest comeback attempt with the Giants, who have agreed to terms on a Minor League deal with the three-time All-Star, a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand on Tuesday. The club hasn’t confirmed the deal, which includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and manager Gabe Kapler are very familiar with Kazmir, who has a 4.01 career ERA over 12 seasons with the Rays, Angels, Indians, A’s, Astros and Dodgers. Zaidi overlapped with Kazmir in Oakland and Los Angeles, while Kapler is a former teammate of Kazmir on the Rays.

Zaidi was in the Dodgers’ front office in 2016, when Kazmir recorded a 4.56 ERA over 26 starts. Kazmir hasn’t thrown a pitch in the Majors since, as he missed the entire '17 season due to injury and was dealt to the Braves as part of the Matt Kemp trade the following offseason.

Kazmir, 37, was released by Atlanta in March 2018, but he managed to stay in organized baseball and made four appearances for the Eastern Reyes del Tigre of the independent Constellation Energy League last year. He was up to 92-93 mph with his fastball in his most recent bullpen sessions, according to a report by ESPN's Buster Olney.

“I always really enjoyed Kaz,” former Rays teammate Evan Longoria said. “I loved being around him when we were young players. This is a guy who was a really special talent, and he’s got a big league ability to throw the baseball. Obviously, my hope for him and for us as a group is that he can rekindle some of that and be a Major League pitcher for us.”

It’s unclear whether the Giants plan to bring Kazmir into camp as a starter or a reliever, but they don’t appear to have a spot open in their rotation, which already includes Kevin Gausman, Johnny Cueto, Anthony DeSclafani, Alex Wood and Aaron Sanchez.

Still, the Giants have been stocking up on arms to ensure they’ll have enough depth to cover the jump in innings over the 162-game season this year. They already have a few versatile pitchers who could be in the mix for swing-man roles, including right-handers Nick Tropeano and Shun Yamaguchi.