The Los Angeles Dodgers made it a priority last winter to re-sign Zack Greinke, but were left stunned when he joined the Arizona Diamondbacks on a six-year, $206.5 million contract. Among others, Los Angeles reportedly had interest in Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija.
Both right-handers signed with the rival San Francisco Giants. From there the Dodgers pivoted to signing Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda to fill out their starting rotation. Kazmir was coming off a season in which he went a combined 7-11 with a 3.10 ERA, 3.98 FIP and 1.21 WHIP with the Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros.
He signed a three-year, $48 million contract with the Dodgers. Kazmir’s deal included an opt-out clause after the 2016 season, which Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi explained the club was more than comfortable with.
According to Joel Sherman of The New York Post, Kazmir did not elect to opt out of the remaining two years and $32 million on his deal:
Scott Kazmir did not opt out of final 2 yrs/$32M on #Dodgers deal (deadline was yest). With bad fr agt SP mkt may draw trade interest
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 7, 2016
Although the crop of free-agent starting pitchers is relatively weak, Kazmir battled injuries and inconsistency this season. He finished the year 10-6 with a 4.56 ERA, 4.48 FIP and 1.35 WHIP in 26 starts.
Kazmir was particularly ineffective in the first inning, pitching to a 6.92 ERA. He adjusted his pregame routine, which at times yielded improved results. However, Kazmir ultimately fell victim to the injury bug, and was placed on the 15-day disabled list with neck inflammation.
After suffering a setback while on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City, Kazmir was diagnosed with thoracic spine inflammation on Sept. 10. He was reinstated from the DL on Sept. 23 and started against the Colorado Rockies that evening.
Kazmir was removed after a scoreless first inning with right intercostal (muscles between ribs) spasms, and never pitched again in 2016.