Padres.com beat writer Corey Brock stated earlier in the week that San Diego’s brass wanted to acquire some starting pitchers at the trade deadline. Well the Friars certainly tried to fill that need when they acquired Ian Kennedy earlier today from the Arizona Diamondbacks for Joe Thatcher, Matt Stites, and a 2014 Comp B Draft Pick.
While I am not particularly “ga-ga” over the move, it is nevertheless a sensible one on San Diego’s part. Although Thatcher has been a reliable “LOOGY” for the Padres during his career (2013: 3-1 record, 2.10 ERA, 30.0 IP), San Diego’s coaching staff seem to have faith that rookie Colt Hynes can fill that role for the time being due to the amount of work he has received in recent weeks.
I will say that the loss of Stites stings, particularly because he was so effective during the Arizona Fall League last October. Stites carried over that strong performance into this year with the Double-A San Antonio Missions as well (2-2, 46 games, 14 saves, 2.08 ERA). Nevertheless, the Padres have a number of young, talented, and experienced right-handed bullpen arms ahead of him in their minor league system like Kevin Quackenbush, Brad Boxberger, and Miles Mikolas, so the blow of losing Stites is somewhat lessened.
As far as Kennedy is concerned, I happen to like the move for three important reasons:
- The Padres are desperate for depth in their starting rotation. The team has already lost Jason Marquis and Clayton Richard this year, so Kennedy’s presence can provide some stability.
- Kennedy has loads of experience against National League West opponents. The 28 year-old right-hander has been a member of the Diamondbacks for the last three and a half seasons, and has started a combined 41 games against the Dodgers, Giants, and Rockies over his career.
- Kennedy’s contract does not expire until after the 2015 season ends. This in turn will allow the Padres to keep the starter under contract for another two and a half years, plus Kennedy will be a valuable insurance arm for the franchise to look to if guys like Joe Wieland, Casey Kelly, and Cory Luebke are unable to recover successfully from their recent Tommy John surgeries.
Although Kennedy has not been as effective over the last season and a half (18-20, 4.74 ERA, 54 starts, 332.1 IP) as he was during his career-year of 2011 (21-4, 2.88 ERA, 4th in Cy Young voting), he is nevertheless a solid fit for a team like the Padres who are looking for depth to round-out the back-end of their rotation.
The Friars have yet to name a starter for the final game of their three-game series against the Yankees on Sunday, and it could very well be Kennedy’s first start as a member of the Friars since he made his last start with the Diamondbacks yesterday.
I for one am intrigued to see how this trade plays out, especially because Kennedy is signed through the 2015 season. The window of opportunity is wide-open for the starter to take advantage of his change of scenery and make a fresh start for himself in a depleted starting rotation in San Diego.
Stats Provided By: Baseball-Reference.com