Starting pitcher Scott Kazmir signed a three-year, $48 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday. (Tony Gutierrez/AP)

Kazmir signs three-year deal with Dodgers

The Dodgers signed Scott Kazmir to a three-year, $48 million contract on Wednesday, filling the hole in their starting rotation created by the departure of Zack Greinke.

Kazmir can opt out of his contract after next season. The class of free-agent pitchers will be particularly thin next winter, with Stephen Strasburg, Andrew Cashner and the Dodgers’ Brett Anderson projected as the top available starters.

The Dodgers could open the season with a rotation composed entirely of left-handers: Clayton Kershaw, Anderson, Kazmir, Alex Wood and Hyun-Jin Ryu.

The Dodgers believe that as many as four starting prospects — Julio Urias, Jose DeLeon, Jharel Cotton and Frankie Montas — could be ready for the major leagues by the end of next season. Right-hander Brandon McCarthy also is expected to return from Tommy John surgery in the second half of next season.

The Dodgers opened the offseason hoping to retain Greinke, but they were outbid by the Arizona Diamondbacks. They then agreed to a three-year, $45 million deal with Hisashi Iwakuma, but then tried to restructure the deal amid concerns about the results of his physical examination. Iwakuma instead returned to the Seattle Mariners.

Kazmir, who turns 32 next month, went 7-11 with a 3.10 earned-run average for the Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros last season. He ranked fourth in the American League in ERA, behind David Price, Dallas Keuchel and Sonny Gray.

MLB

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