You can expect Ian Kennedy this offseason to make room on his Christmas list for spacious Petco Park, Bud Black and pitching coach Darren Balsley for revitalizing pitching career in 2014. Kennedy has been a steal since being acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks midway through the 2013 season. Kennedy was shelled in the dry heat of Chase Field and has benefitted from the ocean air of Petco Park. Kennedy though, should be expected to be part of a deal that will help San Diego acquire a consistent bat for the 2015 lineup.
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Per Jeff Sanders of the U-T San Diego, Kennedy will be hard to deal though, no pun intended. As Kennedy is inching closer to free agency, his price tag is a little high for an older pitcher and teams will want a prized prospect in return if the Padres want a veteran power-hitter, or in the Padres case, just “A” hitter. The Padres are coming off one of the worst hitting droughts since Petco Park opened.
If a trade doesn’t work out in the offseason, the Padres have a durable pitcher on a staff that has been prone to be on the disabled list frequently (Andrew Cashner, Cory Luebke, Casey Kelly, free agent Josh Johnson) to name a few. Kennedy in 2014 threw at least 180 innings and struck-out 200 batters, all while missing only one turn in the rotation due to a slight oblique pull. Even if Kennedy stays, this will add to the reason why Darren Balsley is one of the best pitching coaches in the Major Leagues.