While not the largest deal of the day, Ian Kennedy signed a sizable five-year, $70MM contract to pitch for the Royals. The deal includes an opt out after the 2017 season. The social media reaction has been largely negative, but there’s usually another layer to the onion. Here are some of the reactions from around the web.
- Kennedy was a replacement level pitcher in two of the last three seasons, writes August Fagerstrom of FanGraphs. While it’s fair to expect Kennedy to be slightly above average, it’s hard to overlook those two ugly campaigns. Based on the assumption that Kennedy is slightly better than a two win player now, Fagerstrom estimates a $51MM contract as “fair” over a five-year term. That’s not including the qualifying offer. Fagerstrom also cautions to consider the complete picture. The 24th overall pick may not have held much value to a club with a two-year window. The Royals were also in desperate need of a reliable starting pitcher. Kennedy should offer more certainty than cheaper options on the market like Doug Fister.
- The Royals are betting they signed the good version of Kennedy, writes Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. GM Dayton Moore and agent Scott Boras have worked together on such players as Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Luke Hochevar, and Kendrys Morales. All four players are controlled through 2017 – either through arbitration, contract, or club option. Boras could point to that window of contention as a reason to sign Kennedy.
- Mark Townsend of Yahoo also highlights the club’s short term window. While he agrees with the general sentiment that the Royals overpaid for Kennedy, he also notes that the two-year opt out is a good fit for the Royals. With several core players hitting free agency after 2017, the team will find it difficult to continue contending. If Kennedy pitches well, he can secure another multi-year deal with a different team. If he pitches poorly, the Royals can rebuild around his bad contract. It’s a risky gamble, but one that makes sense for Kansas City.
- The Royals outfield defense should be of immense help to Kennedy, suggests CBS. His former club, the Padres, featured one of the worst outfield defenses in baseball while the Royals will return one of the very best units. The swing in value should allow Kennedy to cut down on extra base hits. He may also improve his lofty 17% HR/FB ratio in his new home park (although Petco Park is also homer suppressant)