The Oakland Athletics have agreed to sign left-handed starter Scott Kazmir to a two-year, $22 million contract, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com was the first to note that the sides were close to agreeing to a contract.
The deal is the third largest for a free-agent starter this offseason in terms of average annual value. Tim Hudson (2 years, $23 million from the Giants) and Ricky Nolasco's $4 years, $49 million from the Twins) contracts are bigger, but Kazmir's deal beats Jason Vargas' with the Royals (4 years, $32 million) and Phil Hughes' with the Twins (3 years, $24 million).
Kazmir, who turns 30 in January, was not expected to return to the Indians after posting a 10-9 record and 4.04 ERA in 29 starts. He also drew interest from the Orioles, but ultimately will replace Bartolo Colon in an Athletics' rotation that includes Jarrod Parker, Sonny Gray, A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily. With this move, southpaw Brett Anderson is expected to be traded in the near future
The proposition of Kazmir getting a multi-year deal this offseason would have seemed crazy last year, when he signed a minor league deal with the Indians after spending part of 2012 with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League. He pitched a combined 1.2 major league innings between 2011 and 2012 due to injury, but re-established himself as a solid rotation option with a strong season in Cleveland.
Oakland expressed consistent interest in retaining Colon this offseason, but the addition of Kazmir likely rules out that possibility. Colon will look to find a contract elsewhere now that the Athletics' rotation is full.
The team is also looking to add offense this season, and have been linked to big bats like Nelson Cruz.
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