The remarkable performance from starter to closer was fun to watch but it is also difficult to swallow the price paid for it.
No doubting the Ian Kennedy took the literal ball and ran with it in 2019. After struggling for two years as a starter on the KC Royals, the move to the bullpen reeked of desperation. Instead, it saw Kennedy make history by joining the limited 20-win, 30-save club.
Entering the last year of his four-year contract, it is anticipated the Royals will look to move him to a contender and receive a marginal prospect in return. Not because Kennedy would be a bad addition to a club if he continues to shine as a closer but because at age 35 and no years remaining on his contract a trading partner is not likely to part with a top young player.
The Royals deserve grace on this deal because when they signed him, the team was coming off a World Series victory and looking to solidify the starting rotation. He did his part in 2016 with a 3.68 ERA, 1.221 WHIP and was durable making 33 starts. At $7.5 million for that season, you could almost call that a bargain. Paying $16.5 million for a closer on a team that will find it tough to win 70 games is not a priority which is why his contract is a hindrance now.
As mentioned at the top of the piece, two of these situations could be amended. Soler could be given a longer deal during the year and Kennedy could be traded. There is no getting out of the money that will line Peralta’s pockets though.