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Ian Kennedy Rumors
10:09pm: The Yankees do have interest in Kennedy, but do not intend to give up both Jagielo and Clarkin for him, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). Heyman adds that there is “nothing hot at all” between the clubs at present.
Bowden adds (via Twitter) that a team executive informs him that Cashman has had discussions with many teams with potentially available starters.
10:02pm: The Yankees and Padres are discussing a deal that would send starter Ian Kennedy to New York in exchange for prospects Eric Jagielo and Ian Clarkin, a source tells Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Twitter link). We heard earlier today that San Diego was disinclined to deal Kennedy unless it received an overwhelming offer.
Kennedy has been solid for the Padres this year after coming over from the Diamondbacks mid-year last season. Over 135 1/3 innings, he owns a 3.66 ERA (3.10 FIP) with 9.5 K/9, 2.8 BB.9 and a career-best 42.3 percent ground-ball rate. The 29-year-old is making $6.1MM this year and will pass through arbitration one more time before hitting the open market.
Jagielo and Clarkin were both first-round selections last year for New York. Jagielo, a third baseman, has slashed .243/.321/.470 through 209 plate appearances this year at age 22. Clarkin, meanwhile, is a 19-year-old southpaw who has pitched to a 3.36 ERA through 61 2/3 innings at low-A, notching 9.9 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9.
The Yankees had a scout in Chicago to watch last night’s start by Ian Kennedy, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, but acquiring him might not be an easy task. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Padres would need to be overwhelmed to move the 29-year-old right-hander.
The Padres bought low on Kennedy at least season’s trade deadline — acquiring him for lefty Joe Thatcher, minor league right-hander Matt Stites and a Competitive Balance draft pick (Round B) — and it proved to be a shrewd move. In 135 1/3 innings for the Friars this season, he’s posted a 3.66 ERA (3.10 FIP) with 9.5 K/9, 2.8 BB.9 and a career-best 42.3 percent ground-ball rate. He’s affordable from a financial standpoint, as he’s earning $6.1MM this year after his second trip through arbitration this past offseason.
Kennedy is controlled through the 2015 season, and as such he could also be marketed in trades this offseason (once San Diego has a new GM in place), or the team could look to extend him as well. He serves as part of a nice trio atop the Padres’ rotation, alongside ace Andrew Cashner and breakout righty Tyson Ross. As such, it’s not surprising to hear that San Diego doesn’t feel any real urgency to move him.
The same hesitancy applies to right-hander Joaquin Benoit, Heyman adds, as the Padres “aren’t resigned” to dealing their new closer (since Huston Street was traded). Benoit is owed $8MM both this season and next, and he’s performing exceptionally well. Detroit was linked to Benoit, but they may be out of that market after landing Joakim Soria. The Pirates and Indians have also shown interest in Benoit, Heyman adds (Cleveland showed interest in Benoit this past offseason as well).
The last remaining Padre who appears likely to be traded is outfielder Chris Denorfia, Heyman writes. The 34-year-old is hitting just .238/.292/.319, but he’s displayed solid defense in right field (UZR and DRS have long liked his work on the outfield corners), and he’s a .299/.366/.443 hitter against lefties.
There were plenty of scouts on hand for the Phillies‘ matchup tonight, as ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (links to Twitter). Among the players presumably being eyed were starter Cliff Lee, fresh off a lengthy DL stint, and southpaw reliever Antonio Bastardo. Clubs with representatives on-hand included the Tigers, Blue Jays, Orioles, Brewers, Angels, Royals, Giants, Rangers, Diamondbacks, Pirates, and Mariners, though Crasnick adds that all were not necessarily looking at Lee in particular. The return start for Lee did not go well for the veteran lefty, as he surrendered 12 base hits (11 singles and one long ball) and six earned runs to go with three strikeouts and a walk over 5 2/3 innings.
Here’s more from the game’s eastern divisions:
- The Phillies are telling clubs that starter Cole Hamels is not available, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports on Twitter. Hamels looks to be the best trade piece on the club’s current MLB roster, but Philadelphia may well prefer to keep the 30-year-old as it attempts to avoid a total rebuild.
- The Yankees appear on Lee’s twenty-team no-trade list, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Lee also listed New York on last year’s version of his slate of clubs to which he can decline to be dealt.
- For the Braves, the trade deadline is likely to bring aid to the bullpen and bench, writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. A left-handed reliever has long been on the club’s list, and Bowman says that the club might also look to add a bench bat that would improve the team’s anemic pinch-hitting results. As Bowman notes, Jordan Schafer and Ryan Doumit have both largely been ineffective in that role.
- The Rays now seem more likely than ever to take the decision whether to deal David Price right up until the trade deadline, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. “I think they take it down to the wire,” an executive told Sherman. “That allows them to make sure they know who they are while making a couple teams sweat to the end that one of their competitors are going to get him. … It wouldn’t surprise me if Price actually ends up a July 31 decision.”
- Meanwhile, the Orioles are looking at a broad array of options to bolster their club, reports MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli. In particular, the club is looking at both starting and relief arms, and has indicated to at least three clubs that righty Miguel Gonzalez could be moved. One of those teams is the Padres, who of course hold one of the better available starters in Ian Kennedy. A.J. Burnett of the Phillies is also on Baltimore’s radar, as is Jorge De La Rosa of the Rockies, though Ghiroli says that Colorado was asking for top prospect Kevin Gausman to be included. Manager Buck Showalter indicated that executive vice president Dan Duquette remains hesitant to part with the club’s best prospects, and could ultimately take things down to the wire to get the right deal. (That, of course, was the strategy that Baltimore employed in this year’s free agent market, though last year the club started buying somewhat early at the deadline.)
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The Angels and Padres don’t match up on a deal for right-hander Ian Kennedy, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but the two sides are still discussing closer Huston Street (Twitter link). Rosenthal notes that the Padres are still listening to offers from other clubs with interest in Kennedy.
The Angels have been connected to Street several times, and the pitcher himself even said he would welcome a trade to the Halos when asked by Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times. That’s not to say that Street wants to be traded to Anaheim — he’s said multiple times that he loves San Diego — but rather that if he is traded, he’d prefer it to be to a contending team. Street also told Shaikin how exciting the concept of playing alongside names like Mike Trout and Albert Pujols would be, and he offered high praise for manager Mike Scioscia.
According to Shaikin, the Angels prefer Street to Jonathan Papelbon and Joakim Soria. Street, who has pitched to a 1.09 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 33 innings this season, is earning $7MM and has a $7MM club option on his contract for 2015. As such, the price tag on him is likely to be fairly substantial, though not as steep as the presumed price tag on Kennedy.
As far as Kennedy goes, it’s not entirely surprising that the two sides don’t match up. The Angels’ weak farm system has been well documented, and there’s been a great deal of speculation that they could have trouble landing significant upgrades on the trade market. In a second piece, Shaikin spoke with GM Jerry Dipoto, who said that he doesn’t want to deal any pieces from his big league roster in trades.
That, of course, implies that a young player who could be of interest to a rebuilding club, such as slugging first baseman/DH C.J. Cron, isn’t likely to find himself as part of a trade. As Shaikin writes, Dipoto knows that means he doesn’t have the pieces to acquire David Price, but the team is still in active pursuit of pitching upgrades. Based on all of these reports, it seems that Street is the primary target for the time being, though I’d expect the Angels to cast a wide net over the next few weeks.
The Angels are trying to acquire starting pitcher Ian Kennedy and closer Huston Street from the Padres, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. The two teams have discussed a possible deal for Street, but not yet for Kennedy.
Acquiring both players will be tricky for the Angels, Rosenthal suggests, because the Padres control both Kennedy and Street through 2015. They are more inclined to trade players who are eligible for free agency after the season, like Chase Headley and Chris Denorfia. Another potential obstacle is that the Padres’ ownership might hope to quickly build a competitive team — the recent signing of Seth Smith to a two-year extension suggests that the Padres do not wish to rebuild for long. They could potentially trade Headley and Denorfia, but keep Kennedy and Street for next season.
The Padres might acquire Triple-A second baseman Taylor Lindsey in a deal for Kennedy and Street, Rosenthal writes. The Angels do not have a strong farm system, so it might be tough for them to assemble the talent needed to swing a big trade, at least not without dealing big-league players of their own.
Here’s the latest from San Diego…
- Ian Kennedy is perhaps the Padres’ biggest trade chip, yet the team isn’t eager to deal the right-hander, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. Kennedy has pitched well (3.72 ERA, 3.19 K/BB, 9.3 K/9 in 181 2/3 IP) since coming to the Friars last season and the club still has him under control through the 2015 campaign. “Unless an offer blows them away, the Padres’ owners, eager to contend, may be compensating Kennedy handsomely in 2015,” Lin notes, as Kennedy has one more season of arbitration eligibility remaining and will earn a nice raise over his current $6.1MM salary. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday that the Orioles had been scouting Kennedy.
- “I’ve allowed myself to be open to whatever happens, happens. Last year I definitely did not want to be traded. Now, my plan is to play for whatever uniform they put me in,” Huston Street tells Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown. Street’s excellent season has drawn some trade attention from other clubs, and while the closer noted that he likes San Diego and believes the team can still be competitive, “I lean heavily toward the want-to-win side of the equation.”
- Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune answers questions about the trade deadline, the Padres’ GM search and several other topics as part of an online chat with fans.
In his latest video, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports says it would be “just like” Angels owner Arte Moreno to acquire David Price. Since L.A. lacks a prospect of Addison Russell‘s quality, they will need to trade somebody off their major league roster. Rosenthal mentions C.J. Cron and Tyler Skaggs as likely suspects, but he suggests that price may be too steep for the contending Angels. Here’s more from Rosenthal.
- If the Angels do fall short on Price, they could turn their attention to acquiring a reliever like Rangers closer Joakim Soria.
- The Orioles would like to add a left-handed bat. Seth Smith was on the radar before he signed his extension with the Padres. The O’s are scouting pitchers like Jorge De La Rosa and Ian Kennedy. They could also target relievers.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty expects to miss Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips for five to six weeks. Cincinnati would like to add a first baseman and somebody to split time with Ramon Santiago at second base. Unfortunately, the club’s record $112MM payroll will force Jocketty to get creative with any additions.
- It’s unclear whether the Indians will buy or sell at the trade deadline. Even if they do find themselves as sellers, they aren’t likely to aggressively shop pieces besides shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. Rosenthal offers the Mariners as one team who could benefit from the switch-hitting shortstop.
The Padres are currently 10 games below .500 and 14.5 games behind in the NL West despite a pitching staff that ranks eighth in the Majors in ERA, and ownership is losing patience with the club, according to multiple reports. In an appearance with Darren Smith of Mighty 1090 radio in San Diego yesterday (audio link), Padres CEO Mike Dee said called the team’s current standing “unacceptable.” Dee notes that as an organization, “we’re all accountable,” but he made little effort to hide the fact that changes could be on the horizon.
“I wouldn’t be doing my job if I was not looking at everything and everybody in this organization from top to bottom … We increased payroll 25 percent. We got an enormous commitment by ownership to do that, and it’s not getting done. And when it’s not getting done, everybody and everything gets put under the microscope, and if changes are appropriate, changes will be made.”
While Dee declined to “put a shot clock” on when moves will be made (if at all), he went on to say, “Stay tuned. If it doesn’t turn around, invariably, we’re going to have to make some tough decisions.” Specifically, he was critical of the team’s offensive struggles. When asked if manager Bud Black was getting the most out of the roster, Dee replied by saying that even Black himself would answer “no” to that question, though he declined to place any significant amount of blame on the longtime San Diego skipper, stating “It’s not on Buddy, singularly, it’s on the organization. All of us are disappointed. All of us are accountable. The fanbase deserves more.”
This morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports exchanged emails with chairman Ron Fowler, who told him:
“At this time, we will not be discussing our situation with any parties outside of our senior management circle. That said, we are terribly disappointed in the team’s offense this year and staying the course (waiting for a turnaround) is becoming less appealing as the ugly losses continue.”
Rosenthal speculates that hitting coach Phil Plantier might be the one who is in the most immediate danger. The Padres are, after all, last in the Majors in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, having batted just .216/.275/.344 as a team. Petco Park’s pitcher-friendly setting can’t even be blamed, as the Padres rank last in the Majors with a wRC+ of just 75, and that stat is both park- and league-adjusted. (In other words, Padres hitters have been, as a whole, 25 percent less effective than a league-average hitter, even when adjusting their hitting to account for a pitcher-friendly environment.)
Rosenthal points back to an article from the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee last month, in which Acee suggested that ownership was becoming impatient with Black. Within that piece, Acee noted that while the lack of offense isn’t necessarily Black’s fault, it is his problem. He went on to write that if the team doesn’t look better by season’s end, GM Josh Byrnes would also be a candidate to be replaced.
Rosenthal writes that Black is still among the game’s most respected managers when talking to rival executives, and he could land another managerial job in short order were he to be dismissed in San Diego. Beyond that, Rosenthal writes that roster changes could be on the horizon as well, noting that the team is expected to move multiple veteran pieces prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. He lists Seth Smith, Huston Street, Ian Kennedy and Chris Denorfia as candidates to be shipped out.
Cabrera, 27, came within nine steals of leading the National League despite playing just 95 games due to a PED-related suspension. The switch-hitter batted .283/.355/.381 in 435 plate appearances. Over the past two seasons, only Mike Trout and Rajai Davis have stolen more bases than the 81 tallied by Cabrera. He topped Swartz's projection by $250K.
In more Padres-related arb news, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Tyson Ross has avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $1.98MM salary (Twitter link). Ross broke out with the Padres in 2013, posting a 3.17 ERA in a career-high 125 innings. The 26-year-old saw his fastball velocity jump nearly two miles per hour, as he averaged 94.2 mph on his heater. That helped him up his K/9 rate to a career-high 8.6, and he posted career-bests in BB/9 rate (3.2) and ground-ball rate (54.9 percent) as well. Ross' agents at the Wasserman Media Group did well to secure a $1.9MM payday. Swartz had projected a $1.3MM salary.
9:53pm: The Padres and right-hander Ian Kennedy have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.1MM contract for the 2014 season, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Kennedy is a client of the Boras Corporation. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had pegged Kennedy to earn $5.8MM.
The 29-year-old Kennedy was acquired from the Diamondbacks in a rare intra-division trade this past July. San Diego sent lefty Joe Thatcher, relief prospect Matt Stites and a 2014 competitve balance draft pick to Arizona in order to land the 2011 Cy Young candidate. Since finishing fourth in that Cy Young voting, however, Kennedy has seen his results tumble, leading to the D-Backs' decision that he was no longer vital to the organization's success.
Over the past two seasons, Kennedy has posted a 4.43 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9. He's also posted a fly-ball rate of just 37.7 percent, indicating that the move to the spacious Petco Park from the cozy Chase Field should be beneficial to him. That wasn't the case in 2013, as Kennedy's HR/9 rate actually increased with the Padres, but that trend doesn't seem likely to continue once the sample size is expanded beyond 57 1/3 innings.
Kennedy will join a crowded rotation mix that also figures to include Josh Johnson, Andrew Cashner, Eric Stults and Tyson Ross with rehabbing starters Cory Luebke and Joe Wieland also in the mix in addition to youngsters Robbie Erlin and Burch Smith.
The Padres have bolstered their rotation for the present and future, acquiring righty Ian Kennedy from the division rival Diamondbacks for lefty reliever Joe Thatcher, Double-A reliever Matt Stites, and a compensation round B draft pick, according to a tweet from MLB.com's Corey Brock. It's a surprisingly light haul for Kennedy, a 28-year-old who is under team control through 2015 as an arbitration eligible player.
Drafted 21st overall by the Yankees in '06, Kennedy joined Arizona in the December 2009 three-team trade with the Yanks and Tigers, at a time when Josh Byrnes was the Diamondbacks' GM. Byrnes was fired the following year and later landed the GM job in San Diego, while Kevin Towers took over for Arizona. Clearly, Byrnes has an affinity for Kennedy, who tossed 624 1/3 regular season innings from 2010-12 with a 3.55 ERA and finished fourth in the NL Cy Young voting back in 2011. Kennedy's walk rate worsened this year, en route to a 5.23 ERA in 124 frames. His skills suggest something closer to 4.00 moving forward. As a fly-ball pitcher, Kennedy will likely benefit tremendously from leaving the hitter-friendly Chase Field to a more pitcher-friendly stadium in Petco Park.
Thatcher is a useful left-handed specialist who joined the Padres in a July 2007 trade brokered by Towers. The 31-year-old has a 2.10 ERA, 8.7 K/9, 1.2 BB/9, 0.90 HR/9, and 42.4% groundball rate in 30 innings this year. He's faced 70 lefty batters and held them to a .212/.257/.231 line. Earning $1.35MM this year, Thatcher is under team control through 2014 as an arbitration eligible player.
Stites, a 23-year-old reliever, has a 2.08 ERA, 8.8 K/9, 1.4 BB/9, and 1.04 HR/9 in 52 Double-A innings this year. Prior to the season Baseball America ranked the 5'11" Stites 27th among Padres prospects.
The draft pick headed to the D'Backs is San Diego's competitive balance lottery pick, which is the first pick of Comp Round B (between the second and third rounds). As such, it will likely fall in the 70 to 75 range; Comp Round B consisted of picks 69 to 73 in this year's draft. Those picks carried assigned values of between $808K and $759K, according to Baseball America.
Towers and the Diamondbacks clearly thought Kennedy to be expendable with Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy on the mend and Archie Bradley in the minor leagues. Kennedy scored a near-record $4.265MM salary for 2013, his first arbitration year. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a mild raise to the $5.9MM range for 2014, so there's a financial element to the trade as well. Still, it seems to be an underwhelming return for a pitcher with Kennedy's upside, even in a down season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.