Phillies rumors: Five relievers worth trading for this year
Ian Kennedy has been around for a long time, debuting for the Yankees in 2007 at 22 years old. His best year came in his second full year as a major-leaguer in 2011 with the Diamondbacks when he finished fourth in Cy Young voting.
As a whole, Kennedy has been an average major-league starter in his career. From 2007 through last year, Kennedy had a 4.12 ERA, 98 ERA+, 1.281 WHIP, and 2.69 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 291 appearances.
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Given Kennedy’s adequate but unimpressive performance on the mound as a starter, the Royals decided to move him to the bullpen this year. So far, the experiment has paid off for them.
In 18 appearances this year, Kennedy has a 3.20 ERA, 2.38 fielding-independent pitching, 1.271 WHIP, and 11.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His ERA is his best since 2011 and WHIP since 2016. Kennedy’s FIP and strikeout-to-walk ratio are the best of his career.
With how bad the Royals have been this year, Kennedy will almost certainly be shopped at the trade deadline. His resurgence should be enough to get teams interested.
On the other hand, Kennedy’s contract may lead to some reluctance. He is owed $16.5 million this year and next year before becoming a free agent. Philadelphia already has $36 million committed to just four relievers this year and potentially $18 million committed next year.
Kennedy’s salary could work either way for the Phillies. The Royals could pay some of his remaining owed money, saving the club luxury tax money. On the other hand, they could lessen the return to hardly anything by absorbing Kennedy’s salary.