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Scott Kazmir: Does He Make Sense For The Mets Or Yankees?

Scott Kazmir, once the crown jewel of the New York Mets farm system and not so long ago one of baseball's best left-handed starting pitchers, is currently a free agent after having been released by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim earlier this week. Should either the Mets or New York Yankees take a flier on Kamzir, who is still just 27 years old?

According to the New York Post, Mets GM Sandy Alderson will consider giving Kazmir an opportunity while Yankee GM Brian Cashman claims he has not looked into it. Let's look at whether Kazmir fits with either team.

Kazmir and the Mets

Mets fans, of course, probably still cannot believe that the Mets traded Kazmir, the 20-year-old top prospect in their farm system at the time, to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in July of 2004 for journeyman Victor Zambrano. I know, Mets fans, I know. You have stopped reading because the memory makes you ill. The Mets believed at the time that Zambrano would help them in a playoff push. He wound up going a forgettable 10-14 over parts of three seasons with the Mets before leaving via free agency.

Kazmir, of course, went on to be the best starting pitcher in the short history of the Rays' franchise. He never reached the stardom that many thought he was headed for, but he did win double-digit games for a struggling franchise five straight seasons, the last one (2009) split between Tampa Bay and Anaheim.

The last two seasons have been nightmarish for Kazmir. He went 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA last season, the worst year of his career. This season he pitched just once with the Angels before going on the disabled list. He was horrendous while trying to rehab at Triple, going 0-5 with a 17.02 ERA in five starts. The Angels released him and are thus stuck paying him $14.5 million to try and resuscitate his career for someone else.

Should that be the Mets? They already have a problem with one wayward left-handed starter, Oliver Perez. Kazmir might be a different story, though. He is, as previously mentioned, just 27. He isn't Perez, meaning he isn't a head-case.

Ever since he took the job Alderson has been trying to find help for the Mets on the cheap, especially in the pitching department. There really would be no harm in offering Kazmir an opportunity to go to the minors and see if the Mets can get him back on the path to being a productive big-league pitcher. Maybe, in the end, they can right a mistake they made years ago.

Kazmir and the Yankees

Cashman has been bottom-feeding for pitching help for a while now, really since the offseason when Cliff Lee spurned the Yankees and Andy Pettitte retired. Look at the guys who have come through the Yankee door in 2011 -- Bartolo Colon, Luis Ayala, Jeff Marquez, Cory Wade, Lance Pendleton, Amauri Sanit and, most notably, 32-year-old career minor-league Brian Gordon -- who made his first big-league start on Thursday.

Why not Kazmir? Well, because of that 5.94 ERA a year ago and the 17.02 ERA in AAA this season. The Yankees took a flier on Gordon because of his 1.14 ERA at AAA this season. Kazmir is a reclamation project who might pay long-range dividends, while Cashman has been hunting in every nook and cranny for pitchers who can help his depleted staff right now. That isn't Kazmir.

The Yankees might bring a guy like this in and see if they can get something out of him down the road, maybe in 2012. They have signed project pitchers like this before. If, however, the Yankees are looking for immediate help Kazmir is not their guy.