"From where he was in August, September '09 when he came over, and actually threw the ball well in Spring Training in '10, to where he is now has been a very rapid decline," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's still young, and I'm sure at some point he can unlock that secret of where he needs to be."
Kazmir was 55-44 in five-plus seasons with Tampa Bay. He made the American League All-Star team in 2006 and 2008. He pitched in the postseason twice, including the 2008 World Series.
Kazmir ranks second in wins and strikeouts in Rays history. He made Baseball America's All-Rookie team in 2005, when he went 10-9 with a 3.77 ERA. He was American League Pitcher of the Month in May 2006, the youngest winner in 25 years.
His best season was 2007, when he went 13-9 with a 3.48 ERA and 239 strikeouts. At age 23, he was the youngest strikeout champion in 32 years. He was 12-8 with a 3.49 ERA in 2008 and was AL Pitcher of the Month for May, when he went 5-1 with a 1.22 ERA. He was the winning pitcher in the 2008 All-Star Game.
At the time of his trade, the Angels believed he was one of the best young lefties in the game. He went 2-2 with a 1.73 ERA in six starts to finish the 2009 season. He pitched in two playoff games for the Angels, not effectively. He went 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA. He allowed four earned runs in 4 2/3 innings.
That seemed to trigger his decline. Last season, Kazmir was 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA in 28 starts. He walked 79 and struck out 93 in 150 innings. He yielded 25 home runs.
During his time with the Angels, he was placed on the disabled list three times. He was currently on the DL (lower back soreness) with Triple-A Salt Lake. He started five games for the Bees, going 0-5 with a 17.02 ERA. He had 20 walks and five wild pitches in 15 1/3 innings.
"Obviously, it's tough," Scioscia said. "I know Kaz is disappointed. We're disappointed in not being able to get him back to where his potential is."
Even though Kazmir had some physical problems at times, it seemed he had a more difficult struggles with confidence and the mental aspects of the game.
"Right now, it's definitely the best thing for Kaz. He just needs to get off the treadmill a little bit," Scioscia added. "Hopefully, he can restore his career.
"He was really struggling with just trying to get his tools where he could compete again up here. It wasn't going in the right direction at all. It just got started going in the wrong direction and kept going."
The Angels plan to flip Dan Haren and Tyler Chatwood for the weekend Mets series. Haren will move up to Saturday and rookie Chatwood will be pushed back a day to Sunday. "Tyler is working on a couple things. It's a good time to do it,'' Scioscia said. ... Injured infielders Alberto Callaspo (hamstring) and Maicer Izturis (foot) are both feeling better. Izturis should be ready to play regularly by Friday while Scioscia hopes Callaspo is back by the end of the Mets series.