MINNEAPOLIS -- Scott Kazmir engaged in preliminary contract discussions with the Indians earlier this season, but those talks have been shut down at the moment. The Cleveland lefty wanted to put his future on hold in light of what is at stake for the Tribe at the moment.
There will be plenty of time for Kazmir -- a free agent this winter -- to continue negotiations with the Indians after the team's postseason chase is over. Prior to Sunday's game with the Twins, Kazmir did make it known that he would love to re-sign with Cleveland this coming offseason.
"I would love to," Kazmir said. "The staff, all the way up the organization, it's a first-class organization. The teammates that I have, it's just great chemistry. I love coming to the park. I would love to come back, for sure."
Kazmir turned in his last start of the regular season on Saturday with 11 strikeouts in six strong innings in a 5-1 victory over Minnesota. After pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters in independent ball last season, Kazmir finished this year 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA and 162 strikeouts in 158 innings for the Indians, who signed him to a Minor League contract in December.
With free agency looming, Kazmir said Cleveland's willingness to give him the opportunity to pitch in the big leagues again means a lot to him.
"It sure does," said Kazmir, who was released by the Angels in 2011. "Last year, when I couldn't get much attention from any other teams, this was the team that stepped up and gave me a chance."
Cleveland stuck with Kazmir through his early ups and downs, which included going 3-4 with a 5.89 ERA and a .302 opponents' batting average in his first 11 starts. Dating back to that point on June 15, Kazmir has gone 7-5 with a 3.06 ERA and a .239 average against.
"We were pretty realistic about it," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "To expect him to go through the whole year without some hiccups or bumps in the road, that's unrealistic. I think he's managed it unbelievably well. I think our medical staff has done a great job."