Ian Kennedy Rumors

NL West Notes: Hudson, Kennedy, Dodgers

The Rockies have never lost 100 games and despite a disappointing season that has them last in the NL West, they'll likely avoid the 100-loss threshold again in 2012. Here's the latest from their division…

  • The Diamondbacks offered Daniel Hudson a contract extension this spring, but didn’t make Ian Kennedy an offer, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. GM Kevin Towers approached both pitchers and expressed interest in discussing long-term contracts. They were instructed to have their agents call Towers if they were interested. Hudson’s agent, Andrew Lowenthal of Proformance, called, but Kennedy’s agent, Scott Boras, did not. “I never heard anything from that, and I took that to mean [Kennedy and Boras] didn’t have interest,” Towers said.
  • The Dodgers’ starting pitchers have an assortment of health issues, so the team could find itself spending on free agent pitching this offseason, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. The Dodgers won’t rely on prospects in 2013, so their “only choice is to spend and spend some more.” Zack Greinke wasn’t one of the team’s midseason targets, but he could appeal to GM Ned Colletti as a free agent.

Diamondbacks Notes: Drew, Hall, Towers

The Diamondbacks enjoy a night off before beginning a weekend interleague series with their rather frequent trade partners, the Athletics.  Here's the latest from the desert…

  • In the wake of D'Backs managing partner Ken Kendrick's critical comments on Tuesday, Stephen Drew told MLB.com's Steve Gilbert that while he "understands Ken's frustration," the shortstop was "disappointed that he questioned my integrity."  Drew said he has been diligently pursuing his rehab and wants to be back on the field as soon as possible.  "I want to be able to play the game that I've loved my whole life again. No one wants me to be out there more than me. I'm doing everything in my power," Drew said.
  • Arizona CEO Derrick Hall addressed a number of topics in a chat with fans on MLB.com, including Kendrick's comments, a possible Trevor Bauer callup and the possibility of signing Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson to contract extensions.  "We have discussions regularly about long-term deals with some of our pitchers. It is to our advantage to lock some of these guys down longer term to keep this group intact," Hall said.  The club explored such deals last winter but couldn't get anything finalized before Opening Day.
  • GM Kevin Towers says it's too early for the Snakes to give up and explore trading veteran players, reports MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.  "I'm always looking at trades, regardless of we're winning or losing or where we're at," Towers said. "I'm looking not only in the near future, but long term as well. I've already kicked some tires on some things. I'm not saying anything is close, but you're always looking, always keeping an eye on down below where your depth is."
  • MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith collected another batch of Diamondbacks notes earlier today.

Platform Years For First-Time Eligible Starters

Clayton Kershaw's salary jumped from $500K to $7.5MM this year, and it wasn't just because of his Cy Young performance. Kershaw qualified for arbitration for the first time in his career over the winter, so he obtained the right to establish his salary by comparing his production to that of his peers.

James McDonald (Pirates) - PW

Though $7MM raises are reserved for elite performers like Kershaw, many first-time eligible starting pitchers will see their salaries rise from $500K or so to $2-4.5MM this coming offseason. A player’s case depends in large part on his career numbers, but his most recent season, or platform year, matters a great deal. 

Advanced statistics like xFIP, wins above replacement and swinging strike rate don't generally figure in to arbitration cases. Instead, traditional stats such as innings, starts, wins and ERA determine players' salaries.

With one third of the season now complete, let’s check in on the prominent starting pitchers on track to be first-time arbitration eligible this coming offseason:

(more…)



Extensions Unlikely For Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson

The Diamondbacks have an eviable amount of young pitching both at the Major League and minor league level, but don't expect two those young arms to sign long-term contract extensions anytime soon. GM Kevin Towers told reporters (including Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic) that he doesn't expect to get deals done with Ian Kennedy or Daniel Hudson (Twitter links).

"I don't anticipate anything happening with them before the start of the season," said the GM according to Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com (on Twitter).

Kennedy, 27, currently has a better case for a large payday than the 25-year-old Hudson thanks to his 21-win season and fourth place finish in the NL Cy Young voting last year. Advanced metrics see very little difference between the two, however. Kennedy had a 2.88 ERA in 2011 but a 3.22 FIP and 5.0 WAR in 222 innings. Hudson's 3.49 ERA was backed by a 3.28 FIP and 4.9 WAR in the exact same number of innings, 222.

Towers said he might look into extensions for his two young hurlers earlier this month. Kennedy is under team control through 2015, Hudson through 2016. We've looked at both players as extension candidates in the past.


NL West Links: Maybin, Moorad, D’Backs, Dodgers

Here's the latest from the NL West…

  • The Padres' contract extension with Cameron Maybin is a good deal for both parties, writes Fangraphs' Mike Axisa.
  • Jeff Moorad's purchase of the Padres could be finalized on March 12 when MLB's ownership committee and executive council hold meetings, reports Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune.  Sullivan hears "the Padres have completed the process of responding to baseball’s questions" following a January owners' meeting when Moorad's latest attempt to complete his purchase wasn't addressed due to what Bud Selig referred to as "economic concerns."
  • The Diamondbacks renewed the contracts of Josh Collmenter, David Hernandez, Ian Kennedy and Gerardo Parra for 2012, the team announced Saturday.  Between these renewals and agreeing to terms with 15 other players, Arizona now has its entire 40-man roster under contract for the coming season.
  • The Dodgers also announced the signings of all their players with less than three years of Major League experience, with Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times specifying that A.J. Ellis will earn $490K in 2012 and Javy Guerra will earn $488K.
  • CBS and MSG are each considering investing in one of the groups bidding to buy the Dodgers as a path to obtaining the team's broadcast rights, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.  Both networks would use the Dodgers as the foundation for a regional sports network.  With CBS, MSG, Time Warner and current rights-holders FOX all interested in Dodgers programming, the club looks well-positioned for a multi-billion dollar TV contract, perhaps even topping the Angels' recent 20-year, $3 billion deal with FOX.

Quick Hits: Varitek, D’Backs, Trumbo, Suppan, Braves

Here's a look at some items from around the league on this Friday evening..

  • Catcher Jason Varitek hopes to remain with the Red Sox in some capacity, but it may take him some time to determine an appropriate role, writes Jerry Spar of WEEI.com.
  • When Kevin Towers was asked specifically about extensions for Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson, the Diamondbacks GM didn’t nix the idea, writes Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic.  Towers hasn’t talked to the agents for either player yet but suggested that he might feel them out to see if there is interest in a long-term deal.
  • The Angels' Mark Trumbo has been the subject of trade rumors for the bulk of the offseason, but the slugger appears to be settling in at third base nicely, writes Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com.  A January poll showed that MLBTR readers think that the Halos should look to deal Kendrys Morales before Trumbo.
  • Jeff Suppan wants to pitch for as long as he can, but isn't yet sure if that will extend beyond 2012, writes Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune.  The veteran inked a minor league deal with the Padres this winter.
  • Craig Kimbrel’s salary is the highest ever for a Braves player with less than two years of service time but the pitcher is well worth it, writes David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  Winning the National League Rookie of the Year and receiving votes for Cy Young and Rolaids Relief Man awards took Kimbrel’s salary from $419K in 2011 to $590K in 2012.

Extension Updates: Garza, Kennedy, Gordon, Hamilton

The Cardinals and Yadier Molina are closing in on a five-year deal in the $70-75MM range. Here are more updates on extension talks around the league…


Extension Candidate: Ian Kennedy

357100626169_Diamondbacks_at_Rays It's not often that we see a trade where both sides end up happy, so a three-team trade where all parties end up pleased with their end are rare. A year and a half later, I think it's safe to the say the Diamondbacks, Tigers, and Yankees are all happy with their haul from last winter's Curtis Granderson-Max Scherzer-Ian Kennedy-Edwin Jackson (plus others) swap. Many questioned Arizona's motives behind the trade, but as Joe Pawlikowski of FanGraphs recently explained, it's the deal that keeps on giving for them.

Kennedy was everything the Diamondbacks could have hoped for in the first year after the trade, giving them 32 starts and 194 innings with a 3.80 ERA last season. His peripheral stats were strong as well: 7.79 K/9, 3.25 BB/9, 4.33 FIP, and 2.4 wins above replacement. Kennedy's second year in Arizona has gone even better; his 3.38 ERA is supported by a 3.50 FIP, and he's maintained a similar strikeout rate (7.58 K/9) while lowering his walk rate (2.35 BB/9) and increasing his ground ball rate (40.5%). After just 112 1/3 innings, he's already provided his team 2.3 wins above replacement.

Let's compare Kennedy to one of his peers at a similar point of their career…

Kennedy-romero
Romero signed a five-year contract worth $30.1MM last August, a deal that also includes an option for a sixth year. It bought out his last remaining pre-arbitration year, all three arbitration-eligible seasons, and at least one free agent season. The Diamondbacks have Kennedy under team control through 2015, and he won't be eligible for arbitration until the 2013 season. A five-year deal would buy out the same years of his career as Romero's deal, and it would still allow Kennedy to hit the free agent market at age 31, young enough to land one more big contract.

It's worth mentioning that both Yovani Gallardo and Jon Lester received similar five-year contracts worth $30MM or so, the kind of deal Kennedy has set himself up for when you adjust for inflation. There's no pressure on the D'Backs to sign their young right-hander to a long-term deal now, but doing so could save the team some major bucks down the line.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


D’Backs Notes: Kennedy, Miranda, Skaggs, Young

With the Cactus League in full swing, let's check out some news about the team that plays in Arizona year-round…

  • The Diamondbacks renewed the contracts of Ian Kennedy and Juan Miranda for the 2011 season, according to a team press release.  This means the club couldn't agree to terms on a one-year contract with either pre-arbitration player.  Madison Bumgarner, Tommy Hanson and Jason Berken are a few of the notable pre-arb players who have settled for renewals this spring.
  • The Snakes were pretty roundly criticized for not getting enough in return for Dan Haren last summer, but Tyler Skaggs (one of the prospects Arizona acquired in the deal with the Angels) tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that he wants to "prove people wrong, to show people that I'm worth the trade."  Skaggs, 19, was the 40th overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft, and he has a 3.16 ERA, a 4.26 K/BB ratio and a 9.3 K/9 rate in two minor league seasons.
  • Piecoro also comments on the recent Michael Young talks between the D'Backs and Rangers, saying he is "being told not to expect it to happen."  Piecoro thinks even if the Rangers agree to pay most of Young's $48MM salary over the next three years, the D'Backs will still have to pay some of it, and "wouldn’t that money be better spent on the draft or on international signings?"  Piecoro also doesn't think the Diamondbacks should deal away young players for Young, except for possibly Brandon Allen, "whom they don’t seem to value anyway."

Heyman On Haren, Oswalt, Lilly, Piniella

One GM tells Jon Heyman of SI.com that there are plenty of complementary pieces available on the trade market, but few impact players. That echoes what Theo Epstein said earlier in the week: there’s not a ton of All-Star caliber talent available at the moment. Here's what Heyman is reporting on the market for starting pitchers:

  • One general manager hears that interim GM Jerry DiPoto is asking for two starters plus bullpen help in exchange for Dan Haren. Wow.
  • Another GM says every member of the D’Backs is available “except Justin Upton and maybe Ian Kennedy.”
  • No team appears willing to commit to the $25MM or so remaining on Roy Oswalt’s contract. Some GMs believe Oswalt wants his 2012 option picked up at $16MM if he is traded.
  • A few GMs believe the Mets make sense as a destination for Ted Lilly.
  • One GM doesn’t get the impression that the Blue Jays would move young starters like Shaun Marcum.
  • People connected to the Cubs expect manager Lou Piniella to retire after the season when his contract expires. Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg could replace Piniella as Cubs skipper.