Kazmir leaves Oakland with fond memories

Kazmir leaves Oakland with fond memories

OAKLAND -- Intermittent laughs were heard in an otherwise subdued A's clubhouse before Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays, as players put in fake bids for Scott Kazmir's personal items following the lefty's trade to Houston.

"They were just messing around, calling dibs on everything," Kazmir said, smiling. "These guys, I'm going to miss."

The veteran pitcher's departure, though not quite unexpected, was still met with much shock in the A's clubhouse, in part because of the underlying message that comes along with such a trade, which could spur a flurry of other deals in advance of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"I'm sure it's not going to be the last move," catcher Stephen Vogt said. "This is kind of a weird week in baseball for every team, because you don't know who's going to be your teammate tomorrow, who's not going to be. I got to the park thinking I was catching Scott and find out about an hour after I got here that I'm not. That's the way this game works.

"It sucks. He's a good friend, good person, good pitcher. When somebody that quality of a teammate and pitcher leaves, it's never easy."

Kazmir was a leading clubhouse figure in Oakland, where he finished 20-14 with a 3.12 ERA in 40 starts for the A's.

Melvin on Kazmir trade

"I don't know how he could have performed much better than he did," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We had high expectations for him, and he stepped up on every level and was instrumental in the clubhouse too.

"To have him as a resource, particularly for a guy like Sonny Gray, he was really instrumental in being a resource for those young guys and bringing them along, not only performance-wise, but how to keep yourself ready, be durable and act in the clubhouse. He'll be missed, definitely."

Kazmir will be back soon enough. The Astros are scheduled for a four-game series in Oakland in two short weeks, as they continue a surprising push toward their first postseason berth since 2005.

It's a position the A's assumed they'd be in at this point. Instead, they're sitting at 44-53 following Thursday's loss to Toronto.

"We felt like coming into Spring Training we had a better team than what shows right now," Kazmir said. "And you know, that's always a frustrating part as a competitor. I think all of us feel that way."

"Houston's very fortunate to be getting a pitcher like Scott and a person like Scott, and we're going to miss him," Vogt said. "He brings a lot more to the team than just once every five days."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.