The A’s reportedly are among the six finalists to land free agent left-hander Scott Kazmir.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted Monday morning that Oakland, the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals are still in the mix for Kazmir, who the A’s traded last July to Houston in exchange for two minor leaguers.
[STIGLICH: Source: A's still in hunt for Scott Kazmir]
Nightengale added that no deal is imminent, but it’s obviously a crowded competition. And at first glance, it would seem some of these teams can be expected to bid more aggressively than the A’s. The Cardinals, for instance, were one of the heavy bidders for starter David Price, who ultimately landed a seven-year $217 million contract from Boston. The Orioles are trying to re-sign first baseman Chris Davis, having reportedly offered him a deal in the neighborhood of $150 million.
Kazmir, who turns 32 in January, is said to have several three-year offers already, likely in the $12-13 million range per season, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. The speculation is that a team that offers a guaranteed fourth year might land him.
A’s executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane has said that the team’s 2016 payroll will increase slightly over last year’s Opening Day figure of $83.8 million. Oakland currently has about $76.3 million committed to 2016. That total includes projected spending on the A’s remaining unsigned arbitration-eligible players, as estimated by mlbtraderumors.com, and it also includes the reported one-year $4 million salary they’ve agreed to with right-hander Henderson Alvarez, though the club has yet to announce that signing.
Given where the 2016 payroll currently stands, it’s not out of the question the A’s could fit Kazmir within their budget, though the gray area remains just how high the A’s are willing to go past last year’s Opening Day payroll.