Ian Kennedy just can't seem to strike the right balance -- the one that put him in the Cy Young conversation for the Diamondbacks in 2011. Last year, his walk rate was one of his best since then, but he offset it with the highest home run rate of his career, struggling like so many Padres pitchers did with a hitter-friendlier Petco Park. After signing with the Royals this offseason, he'll get to try his hand at Kauffman Stadium, one of the most pitcher-friendly venues in the sport, and maybe it'll keep him in the park enough for his strikeout-per-inning stuff to play up. Given his inconsistencies over the years, though, he's more of a back-end option for your pitching staff -- a player to target in the latter stages of a mixed-league draft.
Kennedy agreed to a five-year, $70 million deal with the Royals on Saturday, MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports. The contract includes an opt-out after the second season, so the deal seems quite favorable for Kennedy, who has posted FIPs above 4.00 in three of the last four seasons. That said, he has averaged just over 180 strikeouts per season over that same period, so there is a pretty nice floor from a fantasy perspective, assuming he stays healthy. When factoring in the Royals defense and home ballpark, this is about as nice of a landing spot as a prospective owner could hope for. His value for 2016 gets a major boost as a result of this signing.
Kennedy will reject the Padres' qualifying offer, Ken Fosenthal of Fox Sports reports. Kennedy actually averaged 9.3 striekouts per nine innings, one of the best marks of any free-agent starter, but an inconsistent career to this point likely gave the 30-year-old pause prior to declining the qualifying offer. The Padres will now net a draft pick if Kennedy signs elsewhere, but the club is expected to at least attempt to re-sign the right-hander. However, considering a couple big-market teams like the Dodgers, Cubs and Red Sox are all interested in starting pitching it's unclear how hard the Padres plan to pursue their former starter.
Kennedy was extended a qualifying offer by the Padres on Friday, Corey Brock of MLB.com reports. After a strong 2014 campaign, Kennedy took another step back in a career that's been plagued by inconsistency. He suffered a career-worst 15 losses to go along with a 4.28 ERA, but he's expected to turn down the qualifying offer and hit the open market.
Padres starting pitcher Ian Kennedy (9-15) ended his season on a high note Thursday, striking out 11 Brewers while allowing just a run on five hits over six innings. This season represents a significant step backward for Kennedy, who didn't come close to duplicating last year's 201 innings, 207 strikeouts and 3.63 ERA despite making 30 starts. He struggled through much of September after briefly getting his ERA under the 4.00 mark, giving up 18 runs over the four starts immediately preceding Thursday's gem. Of course, this was a tough campaign for the Pads as a whole, as they entered the season with high expectations and roundly failed to deliver on them.
Padres starting pitcher Ian Kennedy (8-15) hurled a quality start on Friday, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk over six innings in a loss to the Rockies. He struck out five. Kennedy is one of very few pitchers who have success at Coors Field, but this is now three straight quality starts for him there. Home runs and walks have been the bugaboo this season for Kennedy, as he has allowed 29 homers and 50 walks in 28 starts this season. Kennedy shows flashes of brilliance, but mixes that too much with poor outings to completely trust him for standard-mixed leagues. He has to square off against Madison Bumgarner in his next start on Thursday in what should be a lo-scoring game.