Market Developing for Ian Kennedy?


As Ian Kennedy turned down the Padres qualifying offer, he still remains a choice for the Padres as they fill out their starting rotation. This past weekend two other starting pitchers signed free agency deals which could dramatically impact the offer that Ian Kennedy will seek in determining his next contract.

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Jordan Zimmerman has reportedly signed a 5 year, $120M deal with the Tigers, while J.A. Happ signed a 3 year, $36M deal with the Blue Jays. So what does this have to do with Ian Kennedy or other pitchers the Padres might pursue? A lot.

Kennedy will be 31 years old when next season starts. Kennedy has 9 years in the league and has compiled a career 75-68 record with an ERA just under 4. He has been durable, making at least 30 starts a season since 2011. After a rough start to 2013 and being traded to the Padres, he was a top starter in 2014 and reverted some in 2015 but did have a strong second half.

Jordan Zimmerman on the other hand will be 30 years old next season with 7 MLB seasons under his belt. He has a career 70-50 record with just a 3.32 ERA. After making the All Star Team for the National League in 2013 and 2014, he posted a 3.66 ERA last season compared to 2.66 in 2014. That said, the Tigers needed a starter like him after losing David Price and Max Scherzer in the last two seasons. At $12M/year, I would expect his deal to be on the higher end of pitchers not named Zack Greinke or David Price this off-season.

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Happ is likely a better comparison for Ian Kennedy, as he had a superb second half for the Pirates last season after being traded. He went 7-2 with a 1.85 ERA for the Pirates to help them make the playoffs. He is older than Kennedy but also in 9 season he stands with roughly a .500 record and a 4.13 ERA. Would $12M/yr do it for Kennedy after turning down a $14M qualifying offer? The length of the contract might be a key sticking point for Kennedy and the Padres.

The question will be if the Padres want Kennedy back? If they did re-sign him, they would lose that bonus draft pick they earned by offering and him declining their qualifying offer. However, a reliable starting pitcher that you “know” seems like a better option than taking a chance on likely a similar-type pitcher than might be a gamble. As pitchers start accepting offers, we will continue to get a clearer picture of what contract demands Kennedy might be seeking.