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scott kazmir oaklandHello, trade season.

For the second year in a row, the Oakland Athletics kicked off trade season, though this time they’re selling end, and it took a heck of a lot longer to develop than last year.

Today, the A’s traded lefty Scott Kazmir to the Houston Astros for pitching prospect Daniel Mengden and catching prospect Jacob Nottingham. Mengden, a 4th rounder last year (slot signing bonus), has pitched well this year at High-A and is somewhere in the 15 to 30 range in the Astros’ quality system, depending on whom you ask. Nottingham, 20, is breaking out offensively this year at A and High-A, and, although he came into the season in the 15 to 30 range in the Astros’ system, my guess is he’s presently considered much better than that.

Kazmir, a free agent after this season, had been connected extensively to the Cubs – among many other teams – in rumors this year, and is the first of the rental starters to get traded. The return for the A’s looks solid, but probably slightly depressed by Kazmir’s salary this year, his minor arm issues this year, and the robust rental market.

In other words, if you’re looking for market impact, this is just about what you’d expect to see Kazmir netting – maybe slightly less – which means you can start drawing some parallels with guys like Mike Leake, Jeff Samardzija, and Mat Latos. David Price and Johnny Cueto, by contrast, would cost a fair bit more. I do wonder if the Cubs were seriously engaged on Kazmir, and, if so, where those talks ended up before the A’s went with what the Astros were offering.

Because the A’s were undoubtedly in talks with other teams about Kazmir, too, and because the Astros were probably looking at other arms, the other market impact is that this deal has the potential to kick off other deals or move them closer to finalization. The A’s are now clearly selling, which also means guys like Ben Zobrist and Tyler Clippard, perhaps among others, should be on the move within the week.

Away we go …

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