Kansas City Royals: What is Ian Kennedy’s bullpen timeline?

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 01: Starting pitcher Ian Kennedy
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 01: Starting pitcher Ian Kennedy /

The Kansas City Royals have said that they are not opposed to moving veteran pitcher Ian Kennedy to the bullpen.

That is a move that several people have suggested, and one that could workout for Ian Kennedy. It seems somewhat inevitable that the Kansas City Royals make that move if he repeats his performance from last season.

If he were to be on the move to the bullpen thanks to a struggle, it would not be an immediate snap of the fingers. There would be a lot of moving parts to this. It seems like the replacement is already in mind.

With the way the roster looks to be shaking out, there are two roads for the Kennedy bullpen transition to take. One of them is Sam McWilliams, and the other is one of Jose Lopez or Heath Fillmyer.

McWilliams would seem to be the primary option, but there is no guarantee with him. At least with the option of Fillmyer or Lopez there is some indication of what to expect with them.

The timeline for this move is simple, it will take a couple months to evaluate Kennedy. After that, it will be a matter of if McWillams is close to ready to try is hand as a starting pitcher.

Sam McWilliams

The Kansas City Royals selected McWilliams in the Rule 5 Draft with the hopes that he will follow the blueprint of Brad Keller from last season.

McWilliams will start in the bullpen, but after awhile, he will hopefully be ready to start. His 6’7″ frame makes him look like a future starter if he can figure things out. That was the hope of the Royals when they took a chance on him because of his slider.

He fits into the Kennedy equation quite simply. If McWilliams is ready to try his hand at starting and Kennedy is struggling, then the switch might be made. Keller proved that a Rule 5 pick can have plenty of success in either role.

Fillmyer or Lopez

There is no telling which one will be up for a role in the Kansas City Royals starting rotation if one happens to open up. In all likelihood, one of them will already by in the rotation. It is the other that would get the potential opening from Kennedy’s removal.

For now, they will be focused on the battle for the fifth starter job. The pair will also have to worry about the likes of Homer Bailey now too.

This option has another layer too it. Not only will Kennedy have to be struggling, but McWilliams would have to not make the roster, or be struggling himself. In this scenario, both of them wind up in the starting rotation by season’s end.

Ian Kennedy

There is nothing imminent about this move, the team just said they were open to it. For now, Kennedy has a spot in the Kansas City Royals rotation, and he will for at least a couple months. It is good to have the potential replacements in place already, though.

Next. Billy Hamilton is buying into the system. dark

Kennedy is due to make $16.5 million over the next two seasons, and the team would like that to be as a starter. However, if he would serve better as a bullpen arm, then that would be the best way to get a return on the investment.