When a starting pitcher needs 12 starts to record his first win of the season, they deserve strong consideration for this list. When said starting pitcher is making $13.5 million—second most on the team—this season, they are guaranteed a spot on this list. That’s life now for Ian Kennedy, whom the Kansas City Royals signed to a speculative five-year, $70 million deal after winning the World Series.
Kennedy was more than adequate in 2016.
He pitched to an 11-11 record with a 3.68 ERA over 195 2/3 innings. If he repeated that in 2017, no one would complain. If he had regressed a bit (I mean, he is 32), the Kansas City Royals would be a playoff team. Instead, Kennedy did exactly what he did with the San Diego Padres—follow up a .500 season with an absolute stinker.
Kansas City Royals
For the Padres, that meant dealing with a 9-15 record and 4.28 ERA in 2015. The Royals would gladly take that right now. Kennedy’s record sits at 4-12 and his eye-sore ERA is at 5.39. It’s been a strange season to say the least.
Despite pitching quite well in April, Kennedy didn’t earn his first win until June 16. That victory improved his record to 1-6. He proceeded to reel off three more wins and entered August with a respectable 4-6 mark. More importantly, the Kansas City Royals had won eight of his past nine starts—the lone exception coming against the Los Angeles Dodgers when they were still hot.
Since then, he’s 0-6 and seems to be burnt out. Kennedy has allowed 31 home runs—the third straight season he’s given up over 30—but the most concerning thing is his complete drop off in K/9 (from 8.5 down to 7.3). Kennedy told the Kansas City Star’s Rustin Dodd he’s not planning to opt-out of his contract, so we’ll see if he recovers in 2018.