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Athletics trade Scott Kazmir to Astros

The first domino in this trade market has fallen.

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

The first domino in the trade market has fallen. As first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Athletics have traded left-hander Scott Kazmir to the Astros in exchange for right-hander Daniel Mengden and catcher Jacob Nottingham.

Kazmir was supposed to start for Oakland in this afternoon, but was called into the manager's office and was seen hugging teammates, signaling that a trade was imminent. Arnold Leon was called up in his place.

Houston has been looking for rotation upgrades on the open market for weeks, being linked to names like Cole Hamels and Johnny Cueto before swinging the deal for Kazmir, a Houston native. The southpaw will join Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Scott Feldman, and Lance McCullers in a suddenly-solid Astros' rotation, with the trade kicking off what is expected to be a very active market for starting pitching. Kazmir was also linked to the Blue Jays and Royals in recent rumors.

Kazmir has been excellent for the Athletics this season, posting a 2.38 ERA in eighteen starts while striking out 101 batters in 109.2 innings. He will be a free agent after this season when his two-year, $22 million contract expires, meaning that he is a rental for a surging Astros club. The trade disqualifies Kazmir from receiving a qualifying offer this winter, meaning that his market in free agency will likely be more robust due to the lack of draft-pick compensation attached to him.

Mengden, a fellow Houston native, was the Astros' fourth-round pick last year out of Texas A&M and has split the season between Single-A Quad Cities and High-A Lancaster. He has posted a 3.46 ERA in eighteen appearances (fourteen starts) this year, and was ranked by MLB.com as Houston's nineteenth-best prospect. The 22-year old is regarded for his four-pitch mix and strong control, though some scouts believe he will be a reliever in the majors despite his athleticism.

Nottingham, who turned 20 in April, was Houston's sixth-rounder in the 2013 draft and came in as their 22nd-best prospect on MLB.com's list. The California native has also split time between Single-A and High-A this season, hitting .326/.383/.558 with two homers in 76 games. Nottingham is known for his power and athleticism (he had an offer to play tight end at Arizona as well as a baseball scholarship at Oklahoma), and could either evolve into a catcher or first baseman as his development continues.