Heading into the last year of his contract, the KC Royals need this converted reliever to recapture the dominance of 2019.
Just when it looked Ian Kennedy would become another free agent signing that would blow up in our face like an Acme bomb for Wile E. Coyote, the former 20-game winner started throwing BB’s out of the bullpen. He joined an élite club of pitchers who saved at least 30 games and won 20 games in a season during their career.
He struck out more batters than innings pitched (73 to 63) for the first time since 2015 and had his best WHIP (1.279) since 2016. His HR/9 rate dropped below 1.0 for the first time since 2014. He also made himself valuable to any teams looking for a closer in 2020. This would give the Royals a chance to get a little something in return.
The time in Arizona was not kind to Kennedy though. In four appearances his ERA was 8.44 and he only punched out one hitter in five and a third frames.
Heading into his age 35 year, he needs a strong performance in hopes to land one more contract. He proved he can successfully transition to the bullpen and could carve out a nice role for a few more years.
If he comes back from the stoppage and recaptures the mojo he had in 2019, there would be plenty of teams who could use help closing out games, especially in a shortened season with expanded playoff teams.
The old saying goes, “You can’t judge a book by its cover”. You also certainly cannot predict how a season will go by a few weeks of spring training either. Sometimes though, the negative energy can follow you into the season. Hopefully, these three players will come back and have improved results.