The Diamondbacks have declined their end of a mutual option for reliever Ian Kennedy’s 2023 services, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The D-Backs will pay him the $250K buyout instead of a $4MM salary.
There wasn’t much intrigue with this decision. Signed to a one-year, $4.75MM guarantee last offseason, Kennedy had a rough go in his second stint in the desert. Manager Torey Lovullo called the right-hander out of his bullpen on 57 occasions, but he only mustered a 5.36 ERA through 50 1/3 innings. Kennedy posted a below-average 19% strikeout rate and was extremely fly ball prone, contributing to his allowing nearly two home runs per nine innings.
Now headed into his age-38 season, Kennedy could be looking at minor league offers this winter. He’s had some prior success both as a starter and as a full-time reliever late in his career, including a 3.20 ERA between the Rangers and Phillies in 2021. However, on the heels of a uniformly disappointing campaign, the 16-year MLB veteran may need to work his way back to the highest level.
Arizona figures to dip into the free agent and/or trade markets for bullpen help this offseason. Protecting leads late in games has been a problem for the Snakes for a while, and general manager Mike Hazen has already spoken of a desire to some add some power arms to the unit.