SCOTTSDALE — Scott Kazmir was dealt for Victor Zambrano, who last pitched in the majors in 2007. When Kazmir debuted for the then-Devil Rays in 2004, their lineup opened with Carl Crawford, Julio Lugo, Melvin Upton Jr. and Tino Martinez.
The 37-year-old Kazmir has not pitched an inning in the majors since Sept. 23, 2016. He hopes that will change with a Giants team that cares deeply about pitching depth and less deeply about pitching age.
The 12-year pro is signing with Giants, ESPN first reported Tuesday, on a minor league deal with a major league invite. He joins a fascinating pitching group, with a projected rotation of all veteran starters on expiring deals, with Logan Webb and possibly 33-year-old former Japan star Shun Yamaguchi as options behind them. Kazmir will fit right in.
The last pitch Kazmir threw in the majors came with Farhan Zaidi’s Dodgers, so the connection has been there. The last professional pitch he threw, though, was in the Constellation Energy League, an independent league in Texas that popped up for players left out of the majors and minors during the pandemic. If Kazmir can crack the Giants’ roster, it would be a remarkable story.
The two-time All-Star has pieced together a solid career with a 4.01 ERA in nearly 1,700 innings. He debuted with Tampa, made starts for the Angels, Indians, A’s, Astros and Dodgers before the Braves released him in 2017. He hasn’t pitched since, and now he and the Giants will see what he has left.
Evan Longoria played with Kazmir in Tampa, saying they haven’t kept in touch much but, “I loved being around him when we were young players.” Over Zoom on Tuesday, Longoria said he hopes Kazmir can “rekindle” the stuff he once had.
The Giants do, too. After the 60-game season in 2020, there is plenty of concern about pitchers’ workloads. If Kazmir throws a major league pitch in 2021 it would be a surprise but not a shock for a team that needs every arm it can get its hands on.