Let me first start this article by saying that Ian Kennedy will not be pitching for the San Diego Padres next season. He will not be a Padre, simply because his contract is up at the end of the year and his agent Scott Boras has a history of not playing well with the San Diego Padres. That is the plain and simple truth, and the Padres know it. Ian Kennedy will be pitching elsewhere in 2016.
Kennedy is a solid pitcher and in that day in age a pitcher of his ilk should get paid in their contract year. He is likely to command upwards of $60-80 million dollars in the open market. With Boras as his agent, he could easily surpass that total. That all depends on the season he has this year. He is off to a horrible start, but the season is still young and I am sure the Padres have it in their mind that Kennedy will come back to form. It is in Kenned’y best interest to have a productive season, and that extra motivation often results in great years for players.
At the age of 30, Kennedy is hardly a spring chicken. The Padres are aware of that fact and are far more likely to pursue contract extensions with younger pitchers Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner. If Kennedy continues to struggle the Padres will likely try to package Kennedy with another player for an upgrade somewhere. The Padres could still use a defensive minded, left-hand hitting back-up catcher and also a shortstop. Alexi Amarista and Clint Barmes haven’t hurt the Padres too bad, but in a team of sub par defensive players, someone needs to stand out defensively.
With James Shields as the teams ace, and Cashner and Ross following him in the rotation, the Padres have a solid trio. Brandon Morrow has been terrific so far this season. He has a history of health issues, but has been pitching without any problems all year long. Odrisamer Despaigne is being used in long relief, and he made two starts for Kennedy when he was shelved with a hamstring injury, earlier this season.
The rotation is pretty deep when you factor in Robbie Erlin in AAA El Paso. He is a solid option as well, but has not had an opportunity to pitch in the major leagues as of yet this season.
Here is what I see as a possible scenario. We all know A.J. Preller thinks out of the box, and is consistently looking for a new way to improve the team. In my opinion with all the solid starting pitchers becoming free agents at the end of the year, the Padres will become players. I can see the Padres packaging Kennedy with a prospect or two to say the Detroit Tigers for David Price. That is assuming the Tigers have no intention of signing Price and they are also out of the playoff contention. The Tigers could then keep the Padres prospects and flip Kennedy, the impending free agent pitcher for even more prospects. A win, win situation for both teams. Padres get a pitching upgrade and the Tigers get more prospects.
Now before you all get bent out of shape, I was simply using the Tigers and David Price as an example of a trade scenario. Though I don’t see Price returning to Detroit next season, I do believe the Tigers will be in the thick of the playoffs through out the year. Making him pretty much unattainable, especially with Justin Verlander banged up at the moment. Who knows, the wheels could completely fall off in Detroit, you never really know. It is very early in the season. Could you imagine David Price as a Padre? That would be awesome. Not likely, but still nice to dream about.
So what pitchers are going to be available on their walk year? Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Doug Fister, Mat Latos, Scott Kazmir, Jordan Zimmerman and potentially Zack Greinke are all on their last season of contracts. All are an upgrade over Kennedy, and could be acquired if their franchise starts to fall out of contention. It is just something to think about as you see teams fall out of contention come June. The Padres are presently a work in progress. If you think the team is done being reshaped, then you are greatly mistaken.
Ian Kennedy is a quality pitcher and has every motivation in the world to turn things around. Padres fans shouldn’t judge him too harshly on two starts. He is coming off an injury. Kennedy at times last season was the Padres most consistent pitcher, and that should tell you he is due for a bounce back start. Either way their are many scenarios of what to do with Kennedy in the coming months. What his future as a Padre depends on, is simply his performance every fifth day. If he pitches well, then the Padres will have no need to upgrade. If he falters, he will seal his fate as a San Diego Padres player.