The Los Angeles Dodgers have a crowded roster heading into the meat of their offseason and are reportedly shopping left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir to create additional space, per Buster Olney of ESPN The Magazine.

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Trading Kazmir Would Help Dodgers Add Hill

Sunday, Dec. 4

Olney noted Los Angeles couldn’t sign free agent Rich Hill and other players with a 40-man roster already at 39 without making some moves, such as trading Kazmir.

Los Angeles eventually signing Hill appears to be approaching as reality, as Bill Plunkettof the Orange County Register said the two sides were “closing in on [a] multiyear deal.”

Clayton Kershaw served as the anchor for the Dodgers rotation in 2016, but Hill was a major reason they reached the National League Championship Series and took the eventual World Series champion Chicago Cubs to six games.

The southpaw made six starts for the team down the stretch after beginning the season on the Oakland Athletics and posted a 1.83 ERA and 0.79 WHIP in 34.1 innings. He also finished with a solid 3.46 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 19 strikeouts in three playoff starts.

If trading Kazmir will help Los Angeles bring that type of production back, it is probably worth it.

However, Mark Polishuk of MLB Trade Rumors said moving Kazmir would be about more than just clearing roster space since it would directly impact the team’s rotation plans with Kershaw, Kenta Maeda and Julio Urias as the only surefire options at this point.

Polishuk pointed to candidates such as Alex Wood, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Jose De Leon who could emerge in the race for spots, especially since Olney noted the Dodgers were also shopping Brandon McCarthy.

Kazmir comes with some risks, since he will be 33 years old throughout the entirety of the 2017 campaign. He also dealt with thoracic spine inflammation in 2016 in his first year with the Dodgers and pitched just one inning after Aug. 22.

The journeyman has played for the Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Angels, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics and Dodgers throughout his career and finished the 2016 campaign with a 4.56 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 134 strikeouts in 136.1 innings. The recent numbers don’t exactly turn heads, but he is a three-time All-Star (2006, 2008 and 2014) with six seasons of a sub-4.00 ERA on his resume.

The injury problems are a concern considering he made a mere one start in 2011 and didn’t pitch in 2012, but he did tally 26 or more starts in each of the last four seasons.

He is a high-risk, high-reward endeavor who could attract teams looking for starting pitching depth on the trade market instead of through free agency.

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