The move does have its reason, though. Kazmir is owed $8m next year and $12m the year after. The Rays have obviously had some success with the young-and-restless business model, so the addition of Torres - 13-4 with a 2.75 ERA this year in AA - and Sweeney - a young infielder who showed some pop in A ball this year - isn't that crazy. But still, despite the realities of the southern Florida baseball finances, you had to think that the Rays were looking to build themselves as more than just a youth gamble from year-to-year. That's not to say they couldn't easily pull it off this year without Kazmir. They've got Wade Davis ready to join the rotation. It's just not the business model I was expecting.
For the Angels, the move does look like a play aimed right at Boston. Obviously the team has a more dependable revenue stream than Tampa and can afford the relatively expensive young gun. But to them, Kazmir is more than just a talented starter. He's a proven arm against the Red Sox. Kazmir is 8-7 with a very respectable ERA of 3.59 against the Sox, with a solid and crucial playoff win included in there. His numbers are even better against the Yankees the Rangers. The Angels, though racking up the wins in the AL West, just weren't that excited about a playoff rotation formed from amongst John Lackey, Joe Saunders, Jared Weaver, and Ervin Santana. Kazmir definitely has them looking a little more fierce.
So, to sum up, a strange move. It can't be that the Rays are selling out 2009. They've got plenty of arms. But it certainly does look like the AL East war of attrition is starting to have an effect. Don't want to jinx anything, but you have to assume that the Sox probabilities will look a little different after this - the playoffs might be slightly more plausible, but the likely first-round foe might be quite a bit better. So, in other words, who the hell knows?