In MLB nowadays, apparently a 9-15 record with a 4.28 ERA gets you a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer. It does, at least, if you’re a member of the San Diego Padres.
The team reportedly will offer starter Ian Kennedy the $15.8 million qualifying offer, which would lock him up during the 2016 season. This move makes no sense when you look at it from a number of angles.
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Sometimes, even when a team knows they can’t re-sign someone, they will give them a qualifying offer so they get draft-pick compensation, but that’s not what’s being done here. Surely, San Diego is still making sure it gets a draft pick if Kennedy leaves, but it would make no sense for him to go elsewhere.
Now that a team would have to give up a draft pick to sign him, he’s not going to get as much money as he would’ve without that pick being attached to him. That means he might get two or three years on a contract, but for much less than $15.8 million annually.
Paying that much money to an average pitcher serves no purpose for the Padres. They could be spending their money elsewhere this offseason, even on a comparable pitcher for multiple years at a lower annual salary.
To be fair, in 2014, Kennedy was solid, going 13-13 with a 3.63 ERA, but even those numbers aren’t worth the money they’ve offered him on a one-year deal. The righty has never been able to duplicate his magic from 2011 when he went 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA and finished fourth in Cy Young award voting. It’s unlikely he will duplicate it any time soon.
Extending a qualifying offer to Ian Kennedy could signal that the Padres plan to trade either Tyson Ross or Andrew Cashner this offseason. Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
Kennedy will be 31 on Opening Day and is likely to begin the downturn of his career relatively soon, which means raising his annual salary makes no sense.
Some implications of this move could be that the team intends to trade one of their current starters this offseason. If the team plans to move either Andrew Cashner or Tyson Ross, which seems possible for the right price, they could be trying to keep Kennedy simply to have arms in the rotation for 2016.
However, if the team intends to compete in 2015 and is going to be aggressive this offseason while retaining all of their young pitchers, this qualifying offer is absurd.
Go out and pay players that are going to be contributing to the team for years to come, not one that will be overpaid for a single year in which the team isn’t competitive.