Ian Kennedy Rumors

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…

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.

D’Backs Meeting To Consider Major Moves

The D’Backs will consider trading anyone but Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy, as they evaluate the best way to turn the team around, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Heyman hears that owner Ken Kendrick, president Derrick Hall and GM Josh Byrnes are in the midst of meetings to determine the best course of action for the 24-37 team. Last week, Hall told the Arizona Republic that he was open to changes given the club’s disappointing start.

Upton and Kennedy will not be dealt, and Mark Reynolds is likely to stay, but the D’Backs would consider moving others. They would listen on Dan Haren, though the club might prefer to keep him if they believe they can contend in the near future. Adam LaRoche and Kelly Johnson are possible trade candidates for GM Josh Byrnes, who admits he has to consider trades.

Byrnes has been fighting hard to keep manager A.J. Hinch around, according to Heyman. Hinch, who had never managed before taking over the club last year, does not make a seven-figure salary, so the D’Backs could fire him without having to absorb too much money. And the man who hired Hinch? Heyman reports that no one realistically expects Byrnes to be in the line of fire.

Granderson To Yanks, Edwin Jackson To D’Backs, Scherzer To Tigers

WEDNESDAY, 2:35pm: This deal is official, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

TUESDAY, 1:24pm: As chronicled here, a three-team blockbuster trade has been agreed upon between the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Tigers.  The players:

  • The Yankees receive center fielder Curtis Granderson, who turns 29 in March.  Granderson is owed $5.5MM in 2010, $8.25MM in '11, and $10MM in '12, with a $13MM club option/$2MM buyout for '13.  That's $25.75MM guaranteed over the next three years.  Melky Cabrera could now be expendable for the Yankees, and the Cubs are one possible suitor.
  • The Diamondbacks receive a pair of starting pitchers: Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy. Jackson, 26, is under team control for '10 and '11 and is owed an arbitration raise on this year's $2.2MM salary.  Kennedy, 25 this month, missed most of the '09 season due to surgery to remove an aneurysm near his shoulder.  As far as I can tell he is under team control for another six seasons.  This is the second year in a row Jackson has been traded at the Winter Meetings.
  • The Tigers receive four players: starter Max Scherzer, relievers Daniel Schlereth and Phil Coke, and center fielder Austin Jackson.  The Tigers get five years of Scherzer, six of Schlereth, five of Coke, and six of Jackson, potentially 22 years of control in total.  Scherzer, 25, and Jackson, 23 in February, are probably considered the prizes of the haul.

Odds & Ends: Scutaro, Fielder, Bowden

Some links on this Friday evening:

  • Daniel Barbarisi of The Providence Journal talks about the Red Sox shortstop search and concludes that Marco Scutaro is their best option.  The article mentions a few other possibilities, including Brewers infielder Felipe Lopez.  The 30-year-old is coming off of a career year but hasn't played shortstop regularly since 2007, when he posted a UZR/150 of -12.3.
  • In a column for CBSSports.com, Larry Dobrow lays out his suggestions for the Brewers this winter.  Dowbrow urges the club to lay the groundwork for a Prince Fielder deal and cash in their trade chips, Corey Hart and Mat Gamel.
  • Hey American League fans, ever wonder what Jim Bowden would do if he were your team's GM?  Well, wonder no more because with the help of his Amazing Technicolor Dreamtie, he lays out the moves he would make for several AL teams for FOX Sports.  Amongst other things, Bowden pushes the Yankees to beat Boston to the punch and deal Joba Chamberlain, Brett Gardner, and Ian Kennedy to the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay.

Yankees Notes: Mitre, Gaudin, Wang

While there is no shortage of talk about the Yankees re-signing their own free agents or making a splash for the likes of John Lackey, the World Series champions also have some decisions to make about the back-end of their rotation.  Joel Sherman of the New York Post took a look at what the Yankees might do with some of the extra pitchers on the staff…

  • New York would like to bring back Sergio Mitre even if they don't pick up his $1.25MM option.  Sherman reports that the team likes Mitre's versatility as either a starter or reliever, and the Yankees feel he will improve on his poor 2009 numbers when he is another season removed from Tommy John surgery.
  • The Yankees also "intend" to re-sign Chad Gaudin, who shared the fifth spot in the New York rotation with Mitre last season.
  • In addition to Mitre, Gaudin and a healthy Ian Kennedy, the Yankees haven't given up on any of the young starters they moved to the bullpen last year.  Sherman says the Yankees will ask Alfredo Aceves, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes "to come to spring ready to be starters." 
  • Sherman doesn't expect the Yankees to tender a contract to Chien-Ming Wang, but noted that New York might be able to re-sign him to a cheaper, incentive-laden contract since Wang's marketing deals in Taiwan may suffer if he pitches for anyone besides the high-profile Yankees.
  • Sherman (via Twitter) reported that Alan Nero, Wang's agent, said that Wang was given the green light by Dr. James Andrews to start throwing by December 15 and that Wang may be able to pitch again by as early as the middle of April.  In a follow-up tweet, Sherman noted that Yankee doctors have yet to examine Wang themselves.

Rick Ankiel Rumors

Joel Sherman of the New York Post says Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel is popular, with at least five interested teams.  He adds the Yankees, Rays, and Giants to the previously known Braves.  With the lack of center fielders on the market, the interest makes sense.  Sherman says the Cardinals seek a closer and/or a starter, and have some interest in Ian Kennedy.

Dodgers, Yanks Did Not Resume Cano Discussions

7:35pm: Brian Cashman spoke about Cano, Ian Kennedy, and Phil Hughes.  He doesn’t seem likely to trade any of them.

3:05pm: Peter Abraham learned from Colletti that he hasn’t talked to the Yankees since July.

2:04pm: MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick talked to Ned Colletti, who said he hasn’t talked to the Yankees yet.

12:02pm: According to Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers and Yankees have resumed their discussions about second baseman Robinson Cano at the Meetings.  The Dodgers also like Melky Cabrera, while the Yankees hope to get Matt Kemp and pitching from L.A.

Cameron Not Likely For Yankees

Peter Abraham suggests that the Brewers may be willing to trade center fielder Mike Cameron if his friend C.C. Sabathia does not sign.  He says Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera are on Milwaukee’s radar.  Brewers GM Doug Melvin admitted to talking trade with the Yanks, but says nothing is imminent.

Ken Davidoff and Kat O’Brien of Newsday report that the Yanks are not optimistic about acquiring Cameron.  Center field is not a top priority for the Yanks, and they’re not inclined to include Kennedy.