It is very important that Ian Kennedy has a great end of the season for the San Diego Padres. Kennedy was recently put on waivers by the Padres, but was pulled back as the Padres could not reach an agreement with the team that put in the claim on Kennedy.
A deal could have been reached, but I am sure the teams argued about whether or not Kennedy will earn a compensation pick this off-season. In order for a player to earn that pick for their team they must be offered a one year deal in the $16 million dollar range. The player must reject that offer in search of a better one.
There is a high likelihood that if Kennedy continues to pitch well he will surely receive a multi-year offer from some team in search of a starting pitcher. With Scott Boras representing Kennedy, he will get his client’s top dollar value. That is typically the case for players that are represented by Boras.
Saturday night against the St. Louis Cardinals was Kennedy’s finest of the season. As he went six innings striking out 10 while allowing seven hits and walking one. His velocity was noticeably higher as Kennedy hit 93 and 94 on occasion against the Cardinals. In previous starts this season the velocity on Kennedy’s fastball had been sitting in the 90 mph range. The increase of three miles per hour doesn’t seem like much, but a well located four seem fastball in that range can be devastating to hit.
Kennedy has certainly boosted his value and if it not for the fact the Padres are making a late season run, he could still be dealt. It really doesn’t seem likely right now given his waiver status and the fact the Padres are only 6.5 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers at the moment. The Dodgers continue to play mediocre baseball and are leaving the door open for the Giants, D-Backs and Padres. Kennedy would certainly be of interest to a contending team, but the Padres are witnessing the potential for a draft pick appear before their very eyes.
Presumably Justin Upton will leave via free agency. There are numerous factors leading to him leaving via free agency. The Padres team already has Matt Kemp and Wil Myers at corner outfield spots. Rymer Liriano and Hunter Renfroe are both corner outfielders and two of the teams best prospects. Then there is the money. With an annual salary in the excess of $20 million dollars, Upton will easily surpass the 120 million dollar mark. That is a lot of money to commit to a player when you have replacements all ready on the roster.
With Upton and Kennedy both earning compensation picks, the team could have three picks within the first 50 picks in the draft. Compare that to this season in which the team’s first pick was the 51st pick in the draft. They selected Prep starting pitcher Austin Smith out of Florida. He has great potential, but can you imagine two other players of that ilk also selected by the Padres. That will give the farm system a much-needed boost if the picks are used correctly. A.J. Preller has a scouting background and his experience should benefit the Padres eventually. A draft with three top 50 picks could be huge for the future of this franchise.
The importance of Ian Kennedy performing is vital to the Padres future. If he continues to pitch the way he has in the last few weeks, he will surely reject a qualifying offer, as a multi-year offer would seem likely. Veteran starting pitchers are valuable and he could easily get a 3-4 year contract on the $35-50 million dollar range on the open market. Scott Boras will surely get that for Kennedy.
So Padres fans should root for Ian Kennedy even harder since he represents the future of this franchise. An extra draft pick could be huge for the Padres. Look at Kyle Schwarber and Carlos Rodon. They were both 2014 draft picks and one year later each is contributing to their respective Major League team. Not to say the Padres can attain those type of players with all their potential picks, but it is possible to get instant gratification from the draft. Ian Kennedy, Padres fans support you 100%, but now they have even more reason to love you and root for you.