Scott Kazmir is about to join a unique club, signing a two-year, $22 million deal with the Athletics.
It's not the worst deal in the world. It would come as no surprise if Kazmir does well in Oakland. Fly ball pitchers tend to have an advantage in Okaland -- where the deep center field takes away homers and the acres of foul territory gives you a few extra outs.
But the A's choice to sign him is striking. Not because he spent 2012 in Texas pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters. But because Kazmir is the latest in a exclusive group of players to get $10 million in a season from the A's.
Nothing against Kazmir, per se. But it's hard not to question this move if you just consider the Athletics history of big contracts. Oakland's favorite small market team, perennially crying poor, every now and then splurges on a player via signing or trade. And such forays into the luxury shopping always seem to induce the same head-scratching reaction.
Check out this list of players who made at least $10 million in a season, dating back to 2000.
2003 - Jermaine Dye ($11.7 million).
2004 - Jermaine Dye ($11.7 million).
2005 - Jason Kendall ($10.6 million).
2006 - Jason Kendall ($11.6 million).
2007 - Jason Kendall ($13.4 million).
2008 - Frank Thomas ($12.6 million) and Eric Chavez ($11.5 million).
2009 - Matt Holliday ($13.5 million) and Eric Chavez ($11.5 million).
2010 - Eric Chavez ($12.5 million) and Ben Sheets ($10 million)
2014 - Yoenis Cespedes ($10.5) and Scott Kazmir ($11 million)
Not all of the deals were terrible. A few were certainly understandable. But they all just had that wanting feeling about them, like you spent $50K on a Honda.
Some of them turned out to be Pintos.
Jermaine Dye, Vallejo's own, was pretty good for the A's until he got his money. Jason Kendall never recaptured the magic from his days with Pittsburgh, when he was one of the game's best catchers.
Ben Sheets, who had been an All-Star the previous two summers, produced his worst season as a pro. Matt Holliday spent only 93 games in an A's uniform and never wielded the big stick the A's needed in the middle of the lineup. His slugging percentage (.454) with the A's was the lowest of his career.
Frank Thomas, you can roll with. He was done when he got his big money from the A's. But somehow, you just don't feel as bad overpaying a Hall of Famer. Plus he was spectacular in 2006, when he made just $500,000.
The oft-injured Chavez -- part of the young core that had Oakland rocking during the early 2000s -- got his money just because the A's had to pay somebody and Miguel Tejada, Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito didn't get the big money.
During his three-years making double digits with Oakland, Chavez's WAR numbers: 0.2, -0.5, -0.2.
Will Kazmir be different? Could be. If the choice is between him and Bartolo Colon, it's understandable to choose the 29-year-old over the 40-year-old who wants big money. And if the A's get something good for Brett Anderson, Kazmir plus another good piece is something.
Still, for a team that only lives it up every so often, you'd like a little more bang for your buck. Maybe Billy Beane is just a great bargain shopper and loses his mojo on the rare occasion he gets hold of the black card.