Photo Credit: Jeff Chiu/Associated Press
The Houston Astros are the first team to make a move before the rapidly approaching MLB Trade Deadline, acquiring three-time All-Star Scott Kazmir for prospects Daniel Mengden and Jacob Nottingham.
Kazmir was set to pitch in Thursday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, but with the news of the trade, the Athletics will call up Arnold Leon from the minors for a spot-start and potential replacement in the rotation.
Being one of the snubs from the All-Star team, Kazmir is having an astounding season, boasting a 2.38 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 109.2 innings.
The Athletics had no option but to trade the 31-year-old southpaw, as he is a free agent in 2016. With the team falling out of contention quickly (11 games out AL West), it was more ideal to move him to a contender instead of eating his contract for the remaining year and letting him walk in free agency.
The Astros on the other hand are just two games behind the division leaders in the Los Angeles Angels. Adding another ace to the rotation makes Houston that much more competitive. This move will likely knock veteran Scott Feldman or rookie Vincent Velasquez out of the rotation.
The two prospects the A’s will receive have potential, but are currently a few years away from contending for a spot on the major league roster.
The right-handed pitcher, Mengden, has done well in Single-A this year, but after his promotion to A+, his ERA has seen a skyrocket upwards. He is 6-2 on the year with a 3.46 ERA (5.26 in A+) and a 8.6 strikeout per nine ratio.
Nottingham has followed a similar path as Mengden, but his production has not been slowed down. In Single-A+, the 20-year-old catcher is batting .324 with four home runs and six doubles in 17 games. On the year, Nottingham has 14 home runs, 24 doubles, and a .326 average.
The Astros saw something in Nottingham and it’s apparent Oakland scouts felt the same way. Both teams acquired what they needed and may even take part in a couple more trades before the deadline expires.