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Kazmir, who turns 30 in January, resurrected his career in 2013 with the Cleveland Indians after a perplexing collapse. Once an intimidating left-handed starter, his production fell off a cliff in 2010 due to injuries and ineffectiveness. He spent 2011 washing out of the Los Angeles' Angels system after making just one major league appearance, and pitched for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League in 2012. However, after regaining much of his lost velocity and improving his control, he managed to post his best numbers since 2008: a 4.04 ERA in 29 starts, with 162 strikeouts in 158 innings. He issued only 47 walks, leading to a career low rate of 2.7 free passes per nine innings.
Kazmir joins a strong Oakland rotation which will draw from a group including Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin, Dan Straily, 2013 rookie standout Sonny Gray, oft-injured Brett Anderson, and Tommy Milone. Last year's ace, Bartolo Colon, is a free agent, and the signing of Kazmir likely signals an end to the team's pursuits to re-sign him, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The 40-year-old Colon may be trying to parlay his big 2013 season into an even larger and longer contract, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo! suggests, or it may just be that the A's liked Kazmir better moving forward, argues Melissa Lockard of OaklandClubhouse.com. The addition of Kazmir may also open up the team to trade left-hander Brett Anderson, who has struggled with injuries for the last several years but has drawn interest from multiple teams during the offseason.