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Kazmir injury, Rays rotation impact
Posted by Gus Papadopoulos at 2/28/2008 9:47:00 AM
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With Scott Kazmir (elbow inflammation, mild strain) out of action for two weeks, and likely unable to make his scheduled Opening Day start, the question has come up on whether this opens up an opportunity for other competitors for berths in the Rays' rotation.

Here's the latest:

  • Kazmir was due to start the Rays' opener on March 31 at Baltimore. James Shields will now get that start. The Rays then have an off day on April 1, so the Rays can delay Kazmir's season debut all the way to April 5 (at New York) and not require a sixth starter at all. (FYI, that would now give Shields two-start status for Week 1 of the regular season.)
  • If the Rays really do hold back Kazmir for about two weeks, and he has a normal recovery from that point, the Rays can bring Kazmir back as late as April 10 (home against Seattle) and get away with requiring just one spot starter, likely on April 5. As of now, that's the most probable scenario, and that probably requires the Rays placing Kazmir on the 15-day DL on or about March 24 to free up roster space for that spot starter.
  • Getting perhaps just one extra start from someone shouldn't drive a decision on whether or not to add someone to your roster. And, since that spot start likely comes in Yankee Stadium, it might not even help you in a tactical decision of whom to activate in Week 1 in AL-only leagues. However ...
  • Kazmir's extended spring absence will give additional spring innings to all of the candidates for the last two spots in the Rays' rotation. Those candidates include Edwin Jackson, Andrew Sonnanstine, Jason Hammel, J.P. Howell and Jeff Niemann; since Niemann has yet to pitch in the majors, the extra spring exposure might shrink the odds of him making the roster. Otherwise, this window of opportunity gives each of these pitchers extra innings to perhaps recover from a slow start early in the spring
  • The Rays had been thinking they might place at least one of the three eventual non-starters in the bullpen in a long relief role; the Kazmir injury probably makes that a reality for at least one bullpen spot. This might help Jackson's and/or Hammel's chances of making the roster, since both are out of options.

The biggest news, however, is that Kazmir's injury does not appear all that serious, and likely just costs him no more than two starts, one of which is a road start against the Yankees. Not much harm done here for Kazmir owners.


To me this is a big concern, however. I'd bump down Kazmir several notches if you haven't drafted already. I think Jackson and Sonnanstine were all but set for the final two spots anyway, weren't they?
Posted by vtadave at 2/28/2008 10:31:00 AM
I'd tend to agree with Dave. Who's to say that he's back to normal in a few weeks? Right now I'd rather draft other SP who were about on par with Kazmir before this injury (Lincecum, Zambrano, Hill, Billingsley, Carmona, etc.). Unless he slides into the price range of Snell, Greinke, JWeaver, Lilly then I'd rather somebody else take the risk.
Posted by MPStopa at 2/28/2008 10:48:00 AM
Hopefully the Rays aren't taking lessons from the J.P. Ricciardi school of player injury news dissemination.
Posted by vtadave at 2/28/2008 2:51:00 PM
Get well soon Kaz!!!
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/28/2008 4:12:00 PM
I like Sonnanstine. Man, the Rays have some good young arms.
Posted by bwitt at 2/28/2008 7:51:00 PM
Risk is a personal thing in fantasy leagues, of course, so you're certainly entitled to your opinion if you feel you can't bid as much for Kazmir as you were planning to do. However, given the facts that (a) this appears to be a very minor injury (Kazmir was able to flex his arm with no range of motion limitation just a few hours after leaving the mound the day this happened, (b) the current Rays medical staff is held in high regard for the way they handle this sort of thing (Will Carroll rates them one of the best in baseball), and (c) the Rays' current regime does not have the Ricciardi-like rep of low-balling injury news, this sure seems to me as if Kazmir likely won't miss more than two starts, if that.
Posted by sixsigmagus at 3/1/2008 8:32:00 AM

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