Scott Kazmir – LHP or Hisashi Iwakuma – RHP
It’s Really a toss-up between Scott Kazmir and Hisashi Iwakuma.
Sep 2, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Scott Kazmir (26) pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the second inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Kazmir is the younger of the two at thirty-one. After winning 15 games with a 3.55 ERA with Oakland in 2014, he had seven wins and eleven losses last year with Oakland and Houston. Even with the sub .500 record, he still managed to lower his ERA to 3.10.
Plus, if Kazmir chooses to play here, you know he knows the area since he was with Oakland. He is also not tied to a draft pick since he was traded mid-season.
Iwakuma is thirty-four, so he is no spring chicken. But neither was Ryan Vogelsong. And Vogelsong managed to turn back the clocks a few times.
He hasn’t had a sub .500 season in the Major Leagues. His 47-25 record and 3.17 ERA show that he is consistent. And his 551 strikeouts, to 127 walks, show he is a strike thrower.
Again, the team doesn’t necessarily need long-term arms. A good starter who you can rely on for two or three years may also be sufficient. Remember, there are others in the system that will likely be ready soon. Signing Iwakuma would cost the Giants a draft pick.
Sep 22, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma (18) delivers a warm up pitch in the middle of the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
There are definitely dark horses that are not being talked about as much lately. A couple of names that are likely getting some consideration are Yovani Gallardo and Jeff Samardzija. But another one to look out for may be Kenta Maeda, that is, if he is posted by his current Japanese team the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.
Whatever they do, it will be with eyes on yet another even year title. And combining a workhorse like Madison Bumgarner with any of these free agent starters, the team should be able to match up well with most 1-2 combinations in the National League.