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June 15, 2011

Transaction Analysis Blog

Kazmir Released, Cantu Designated

by R.J. Anderson

IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

ANAHEIM ANGELS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Released SP Scott Kazmir. [6/15]

It’s not a good night to be a member of the 2006-2007 Devil Rays (but then again, that was true most nights back then too).  Save for a six-start stretch upon Kazmir’s arrival, he managed to disappoint at every turn. Most recent and damming is Kazmir’s failure to find a slither of success in his rehab outings. It’s difficult to evaluate a player’s health or quality of performance on these assignments through statistics alone, but it can’t be good when a proven major league pitcher allows 22 hits, 30 runs, and 20 walks, hits six batters, throws five wild pitches, and only fans 14 batters in 15 1/3 innings of Triple-A work.

Kazmir no longer has his plus slider or plus velocity, and frankly, his career as a starter seems to be over at the age of 27. Maybe a team can turn him into a reliever, if only a lefty specialist, but this is not the future Kazmir or anyone else envisioned when he signed an extension with the Rays just 37 months ago.

SAN DIEGO PADRES
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San Diego Padres
Designated 1B Jorge Cantu for assignment. [6/15]

There was a time, not long ago, when Cantu’s bat held enough to charge to make up for a lifeless glove. By the mainstream metrics, Cantu’s 2005 season smacked of brilliance. What, with 23 home runs and 117 runs batted in, and that from a 23-year-old second baseman. Those who ignored Cantu’s .311 on-base percentage and fall down range saw a budding star. Those who did not had to think he would become a decent source of right-handed power, if nothing else.

But injuries derailed his 2006 season and the league has more than caught on to his flaws since. Before long, Cantu got into a public spat with the Rays over a Triple-A assignment (with Cantu implying he would not report, as he was not a minor league player, and then his agent following along to say he would) and found himself heading to Cincinnati in a midseason trade. Since then, Cantu has been mediocre to poor, with the exception of two seasons for the Marlins.

Even last season, when the Rangers acquired Cantu to beef up their playoff bench, he fizzled to the tune of a 605 OPS. The Padres signed Cantu with their eyes on a first base platoon, but his bat never materialized. Through 155 plate appearances, Cantu has a .232 on-base percentage and .285 slugging percentage.  Those are difficult offensive values to swallow from an all-world defender, and Cantu won’t be mistaken for Omar Vizquel anywhere—well, except for at the plate.


R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

Related Content:  Jorge Cantu

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