According to a report from Bob Nightengale, the finalists for Scott Kazmir is still a relatively long list that includes the Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Nationals, and Houston Astros.
Yes and #Astros among the finalists for Kazmir— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 21, 2015
Nightengale then has effectively narrowed the Kazmir sweepstakes down to one-fifth of the league.
Our own Scott Gelman wrote an article about the likelihood of Kazmir landing back with the Athletics and he doesn't like their chances, with expense being the main concern.
The Cardinals are an intriguing team involved in these rumors because they've missed out on many free agents already. Most recently losing Jason Heyward to the division-rival Chicago Cubs, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak might be willing to spend to make sure the rotation remains competitive. After all, the Cardinals have also lost John Lackey to free agency as well and they won't have Lance Lynn next season. It should be noted that the Cardinals have been linked to Mark Buehrle.
Jim Crane and Jeff Luhnow have already made it known that the Astros want to address the fifth-spot in their rotation. With a rotation already consisting of Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Collin McHugh, and Mike Fiers, pitching shouldn't be a major concern, but depth has never hurt a team on the road to contention.
The Royals are in a similar scenario to the Cardinals, having lost quite a few players to free agency. Despite being playoff rentals, Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist have departed for greener pastures. Meanwhile, the Chicago White Sox are putting some effort into being competitive in the division by trading for Todd Frazier. Dayton Moore and the Royals front office could find Kazmir to be a valuable, yet cost-effective asset.
As far as the Nationals go, their chances of signing Kazmir may depend on ownership. While Nationals GM Mike Rizzo may have some wealthy owners as bosses, his leash to spend may be shortened after last year's disappointing season.
The Orioles are kind of an odd team. They seem to have many needs but really only have one open spot in the rotation. While a rotation of Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Kevin Gausman isn't nearly as fearsome as the Astros', adding Kazmir would make it at least functional. That probably wouldn't be the worst rotation in the division.
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