NOV. 6, 4:07pm: It more or less goes without saying, but Justin Upton will also get a QO, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets.
11:35am: The Padres are indeed planning to make the qualifying offer to Kennedy, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
NOV. 4: The Padres are leaning toward extending a one-year, $15.8MM qualifying offer to free-agent right-hander Ian Kennedy, reports Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. An official decision won’t be announced until shortly before the 5pm ET deadline for qualifying offers this Friday, but Lin calls a QO a “likely” outcome for Kennedy.
Previous reports have indicated that the Padres weren’t 100 percent set on the offer. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports noted in mid-October that Padres people were considering making one, but rival executives remained skeptical.
From our vantage point at MLBTR, Kennedy’s a natural qualifying offer candidate on the heels of a solid season. While he logged an alarming 7.15 ERA through the season’s first two months, Kennedy rebounded with a 3.41 ERA and an outstanding 137-to-38 K/BB ratio over his final 129 1/3 innings of the season, leaving him with a 4.28 ERA in 168 1/3 innings on the season. Dating back to 2011, Kennedy ranks 14th of 278 qualified starters with 1175 innings, topping the marks of free-agent peers such as Yovani Gallardo and Mike Leake.
Kennedy figures to reject the qualifying offer in favor of a multi-year deal, and it seems possible that there’s a four-year pact waiting for him on the open market. A three-year deal would seem to be a virtual certainty for Kennedy from where I sit, although even if the market completely collapsed on him, he’d still be able to find a one-year deal worth more than $10MM, as Ervin Santana did prior to the 2014 season with the Braves.