The Houston Astros have been a losing team for the past six years. While Jeff Luhnow tore the franchise down from top to bottom, the Astros were bad. Very bad. Perennial sellers, moving all major league talent for prospects. The Astros weren't viewed as a team to take seriously, they weren't viewed as a team who could actually win.
Until, Scott Kazmir, that is.
Kazmir has a special importance to the Astros, and, no, I don't mean his hometown ties, nor do I mean how important he instantly becomes in the Astros' rotation. His importance is beyond statistics or depth charts, his importance transcends the box score.
Scott Kazmir sends a message to the baseball world.
For the first time in a long time (at the very least; six years), the Astros are a force to be reckoned with. The Astros are winning, and the Kazmir trade sends a clear message to the fans, to the media and to the baseball world; the Astros time to win has come.
While, okay, the trade was almost certainly not made to sway the opinion of the baseball world, we can't downplay the importance of the trade from this narrative. Sending a message of change surely resonates within the franchise. If you're in the Astros clubhouse, or if you're watching from the Minute Maid Park bleachers, you know you're watching a team who are going for the ultimate prize in baseball; the World Series Championship.
The message of change is an important one to free agents, opposing teams and other trade targets alike. A change in the winds. A change in the direction of the franchise. A change for the better.
Ironically, I'm a tad anti-rental trades. Personally, I think that the performances of a talented, rented, individual (normally at a steep price), can easily get lost in the tiny sample size of the remainder of the season, the three series in October, or that one wild-card game.
Much like how the Astros' Front Office understand the importance of building a harmonious clubhouse full of players whom are behind the overall direction of the franchise (as seen in the trading away of Mike Foltynewicz, or Jarred Cosart), I'd imagine they understand the hidden importance of the Kazmir trade.
Kazmir represents a huge upgrade to the rotation. But, Kazmir, also, represents a change in the direction of the Houston Astros franchise. The days of winning and playing in October are upon us, once more. And, Scott Kazmir reinforces this message to the baseball world.