The Scott Kazmir Trade is the Rashomon of modern Mets moves. That comes from the criminal nature of the transaction for Tampa Bay, or perhaps the many points of view produced when so many people were in the room at the time vital decisions were made.
But Adam Rubin’s piece today detailing the team’s decision not to pursue action against the then-Devil Rays is far from shocking- I’ve heard the same thing myself. Still, I am glad he reported it, and with Kazmir’s recent release, we can take a look at the revisionist history some have tried to perpetrate- namely, that the Mets were somehow right to make this deal.
The deal encapsulates so much of what the Mets have failed at in recent years- proper evaluation of prospects, evaluating injury risks, due diligence on injuries, failure to properly assess where the team is in the success cycle. That Kazmir, after years of strong pitching (years, incidentally, where he probably makes the difference in the 2006 NLCS, along with assuring playoff berths in both 2007 and 2008), eventually broke down is no answer to those failures.
Mark Prior broke down. Stephen Strasburg broke down. This doesn’t mean their teams should have traded them for an older pitcher with control issues who, by the way, also broke down. This doesn’t validate the Mets- it means pitchers are risky, and they traded the one with far higher upside who went on to accomplish far more.
The trade was ridiculous at the time. But trying to justify it now based on results? Comical. Here’s a simple comparison for anyone who wishes to attempt this:
From July 30, 2004 to present:
Scott Kazmir WAR: 16.9
Victor Zambrano WAR: -0.9
You make the call.