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SF Giants Sign 3x All-Star Scott Kazmir Amidst Comeback Attempt

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 19: Starting pitcher Scott Kazmir #29 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch to a Washington Nationals batter in the fourth inning during a MLB baseball game at Nationals Park on July 19, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Washington Nationals/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 19: Starting pitcher Scott Kazmir #29 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch to a Washington Nationals batter in the fourth inning during a MLB baseball game at Nationals Park on July 19, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Washington Nationals/Getty Images)
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SF Giants, Scott Kazmir
Starting pitcher Scott Kazmir #29 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch to a Washington Nationals batter in the fourth inning during an MLB baseball game at Nationals Park on July 19, 2016. Kazmir signed a minor-league deal with the SF Giants on Tuesday. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Washington Nationals/Getty Images)

The SF Giants have signed 37-year old left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to big-league Spring Training, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. MLB Network’s Joel Sherman later confirmed Olney’s report. It’s unclear whether Kamir’s contract includes an opt-out if he fails to make the Opening Day roster. Regardless, he joins a crowded competition for a spot in the Giants rotation.

While Kazmir has been selected to three All-Star games over his career, he is far removed from any big-league success. Kazmir last appeared in a Major League Baseball game over four years ago with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016. That season, Kazmir completed 136.1 innings over 26 starts, struck out nearly a batter per inning, and posted a 4.56 ERA (4.48 FIP). The next year, still under contract in Los Angeles, Kazmir suffered a series of injuries that prevented him from rejoining the team. Heading into 2018, he signed with Atlanta on a minor-league deal but was released before the season.

SF Giants sign LHP Scott Kazmir to a minor-league contract

Kazmir did pitch in the Constellation Energy League last year, an Independent League that popped up last season for professional players looking for a place to play without a minor-league season. Kazmir completed 15 innings across 4 appearances (3 starts), struck out 10, walked four, and posted a 4.20 ERA. He continued working out throughout the offseason and held a showcase for scouts, where his fastball reportedly reached 93 mph and sat between 90-92 mph.

It’s been a long time since Kazmir was last on the comeback path, but this isn’t the first time he’s disappeared from MLB and pitched in an independent league. One of the best young starters in MLB from 2005-2008, Kazmir suffered multiple severe injuries that forced him out of MLB affiliate baseball for all of 2012. He eventually returned to a big-league rotation and signed with the Oakland Athletics, where current Giants president Farhan Zaidi was working at the time.  A couple of years later, Zaidi would be a member of the Dodgers front-office that signed Kazmir to a three-year, $48 million deal. Kazmir hopes Zaidi’s affinity for the southpaw will help him receive another MLB opportunity.

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It’s unclear whether the SF Giants plan to utilize Scott Kazmir out of the bullpen or rotation. If they do view him as a starter, he’s likely to begin the season at Triple-A, where he will have an opportunity to earn a big-league opportunity. However, he could have a path to the Opening Day roster if he could serve as an effective long-reliever.

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