KC Royals Should Think of the Big Picture before Signing Ian Kennedy
By Aaron Todd
Now that the services of Alex Gordon have been secured by the KC Royals for the next four years the reigning world champions have turned their attention fully towards starting pitching.
With a little over a month until pitchers and catchers report to prepare for the 2016 campaign the Kansas City Royals are in need of a dependable arm to support a rotation that can only count Eddie Volquez (13-9; 3.55 ERA), Yordano Ventura (13-8; 4.08 ERA), and Chris Young (11-6; 3.06 ERA) as locks.
This morning the rumor mill has been swirling with word that the KC Royals are strongly interested in free agent pitcher Ian Kennedy. The former San Diego Padres pitcher would provide the Kansas City Royals with a somewhat dependable middle of the rotation arm who would presumably slot in behind Volquez and Ventura. While it is true that Kennedy is an enticing (and presumably somewhat affordable) option he does not come without a degree of risk.
In his nine Major League seasons Kennedy has posted a career record of 75-68 with a cumulative ERA of 3.69. His best year came in 2011 with the Arizona Diamondbacks where he posted a sparkling record of 21-4 with an ERA of 2.88. Since that year, however, Kennedy’s results have been mixed. In his three years in San Diego (2013-2015) he posted a total record of 26-30 with an ERA of 3.97. In 2015 Kennedy posted a record of 9-15 with an ERA of 4.28.
Though Kennedy’s 2015 numbers were less than stellar it is easy to see why Kennedy would be an appealing option for the Kansas City Royals. For his career he averages over 200 innings per season, he has an average WHIP of 1.276, he surrenders just over 1 HR per 9 innings, and he surrenders less than 3 BB per 9 innings. It would appear that these numbers combined with the spacious confines of Kauffman Stadium and the KC Royals stellar defense would make for a reasonable (low cost) match.
More from Kings of Kauffman
- Grading the 2022 KC Royals: The $25 million man
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Expectations met
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Day 3 update
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Day 2 update
- Winter Meetings: Any blockbusters for the KC Royals?
While it is not yet known how much cash it would take to sign Kennedy it is known that in order to secure the services of the 31-year old right hander the Kansas City Royals would have to surrender their 2016 first round draft pick (24th overall). So the question for the Royals is simply this; are the services of Ian Kennedy worth surrendering another potential piece of the future of the franchise?
It is widely assumed that the “window” for the KC Royals to maintain their stature as leaders of the American League is only open for another two years or so. With this assumption comes the understanding that the Kansas City Royals can (and perhaps should) do everything they can to win as much as they can, now.
The Royals and their fans have been starved for a winner for so long now that success has been tasted the prevailing sentiment is that we want to savor it for as long as possible. The thought of the KC Royals taking a step back after their World Championship is not one that many want to entertain. However, the question remains, do the Kansas City Royals want to risk mortgaging a piece of their future so that Ian Kennedy can hold down the number 3 spot in the rotation?
The KC Royals, of course, have internal options to fill out the rotation at their disposal. Kyle Zimmer, Miguel Almonte, Danny Duffy, and Kris Medlen are all potentially viable alternatives to signing Kennedy (and surrendering that draft pick).
Next: KC Royals Unlikely To Re-Sign Greg Holland
While Kennedy perhaps projects as a more dependable starting option than any of the Kansas City Royals internal alternatives and it is of course no guarantee that any draft pick will amount to anything of consequence the KC Royals should not only consider 2015 and 2016 but the years to come.