Why the Padres Are Happy Ian Kennedy Signed with the Royals


Former Padres starting pitcher Ian Kennedy signed a 5 year, $70M contract with the World Champion Kansas City Royals last weekend, ending his tenure as a reliable member of the Padres rotation. This is a decent deal for the Royals but I’m also very glad the Padres didn’t make the same deal.

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First of all they already have a lot of cash tied up in another 30+ year old pitcher in James Shields, and the two were the worst pitchers in baseball last year at allowing home runs. The deal is certainly risky – but the Royals are betting more on his consistency and durability it appears than perhaps his lights out talent.

Second of all the Padres are better to see more of what they might have in Colin Rea or Robbie Erlin. A long term contract for a veteran SP is not good for the Padres, though I still wouldn’t mind them signing a veteran to a one year contract to try something. I still am not in the camp that is counting on Brandon Morrow to contribute to the Padres much in 2016. If he does it’s all a bonus for me.

Last and perhaps most important because he rejected the Padres qualifying offer the Padres get a KC first round pick for the 2016 draft. Which is what GM A.J. Preller coveted all along and likely why he held onto Kennedy and Justin Upton as the season wound down with the Padres out of contention.

The Royals proved last season that you don’t need a lights out rotation to win the World Series when your bullpen and defense is amazing and your offense can light it up with the best of them. I still think Kendrys Morales epitomized this team last season, as they were able to bring him in on a gamble after he had two horrible seasons and watch him hit 22 home runs, .290 and play stellar in the post-season to boot. Might they find the same with Kennedy?

It was neat to watch another former Padre Chris Young pitch well in the World Series despite not throwing much over 85 MPH. I got no satisfaction in watching Edinson Volquez pitch well however.

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Yet with Kennedy you get a guy who has made 30 starts every season as a starter. He got over 200 IP in 2014 and posted an ERA of 3.63 before reverting back to 4.28 in 2015, largely in part to those 31 home runs allowed compared to just 16 in 2014. Yet Kauffman Stadium for the Royals plays big too, so with a few mechanical corrections he should be able to fix this and give the Royals enough quality starts to get to their bullpen and likely see his win totals increase.