Buster Olney sees why Kennedy may have chosen Kansas City.
Ian Kennedy goes to KC, where he'll work with his former pitching coach, Dave Eiland. Big ballpark, strong OF defense for KC will help.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 16, 2016
Sam Mellinger says look past the money.
You can imagine this deal not being done if the Royals operated differently — if Moore had not earned Glass’ faith and convinced him that winning does not come without increased spending. This is a small thing, but when Moore and his assistants gather to talk about potential signings, it is understood by everyone in the room that they are not to talk about the cost. Moore wants the evaluations to be purely about baseball, and then later he and Glass will see if the money will work. There are exceptions — late in the spring, for instance, when budgets are mostly set — but this is how a small-market team keeps its focus more on baseball than dollars.
Still, getting hung up on the money is wasted time, and not just because the sport is generating record revenues every year with promises of more to come, and not just because it makes more sense for the players who provide the entertainment value to get it than the owners who make the rules and take on virtually no risk.
Jeff Samardzija gave up more hits, earned runs and home runs than anyone else in baseball last year, and was rewarded with a $90 million contract. It’s all silly.
Many observers felt it was an overpay.
Five years! Of all the David Bowie tributes, this contract is the strangest. https://t.co/BUawyOLuOl— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) January 16, 2016
Or that Ian Kennedy is not going to be good.
As a mercy, only showing ZiPS for year 1 of Kennedy. And this is his best projected-WAR for an AL team. pic.twitter.com/2Kb5O4HiYx— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) January 16, 2016
Keith Law at ESPN does not expect much from Kennedy.
Kennedy works heavily with his straight, below-average four-seamer, and he gets punished for it, with that pitch accounting for two-thirds of the homers he gave up in 2015, his worst year to date for surrendering the long ball. He has had only one truly above-average season in the majors, in 2011, posting a low walk rate and low home run rate in the same year for the only time in his career. He was around replacement-level in two of the past three seasons, even with the benefit of pitching a bunch of games in Petco Park in that period.
With his current stuff -- which is unlikely to improve -- and pitch mix, he likely will be at or just below the AL median in strikeout rate and likely to continue to walk too many guys for a finesse right-hander while giving up 25-30 homers if he goes 200 innings. That's going to add up to a below-average result, and for $14 million, the Royals need more.
August Fagerstrom at Fangraphs is underwhelmed.
Last year, Kennedy was a replacement-level pitcher. In 2013, Kennedy was a replacement-level pitcher. He should be expected to do better than that, but odds are that Kennedy’s true-talent level lies a bit above a +1 WAR starter, with the most optimistic of projections putting him around +2 WAR, in the present. The contract runs for five years. Even if you start with Steamer’s more optimistic 2.2 WAR projections, it’s hard to justify, in a vacuum, Kennedy being worth $70 million:
But some saw the upside, like Phil Rogers at MLB.com.
Give us two good years, the usual 30 starts a season and then go back on the free-agent market before your age-33 season, like James Shields after 2014. All that really matters are the two good seasons. • Source: Kennedy agrees to join Royals That's what the Royals are saying as they try to sustain the giddy high they've experienced with back-to-back trips to the World Series. It has to end sometime, right? But general manager Dayton Moore is doing everything in his power to keep the wins flowing at least through 2017.
David Lesky at Pine Tar Press is optimistic.
I don’t love the idea of five years, but the $14 million AAV is basically exactly what I thought he would get. With the opt out, it’s likely that Kennedy won’t ever see the third year of the deal, but if he does, the five years mitigates the loss of a draft pick a bit because Kennedy would be a part of the team even after that draft pick would likely be debuting. The question with any move when a team is in win-now mode is if the deal helps them win this year (and in 2017 too). This one probably does. Like the player. Like the AAV. Don’t like the years, but the years likely don’t matter since there’s an opt out, so I really like this deal.
Craig Brawn at Royals Authority agrees that this is not a major overpay.
The counter argument is that the Royals are paying a high price for mediocrity. Perhaps, but this is the cost of doing business in baseball in 2016. Compare to Jason Vargas a few seasons ago. Vargas was an underwhelming starter who surprisingly signed for four years. I’m certain the Royals extended in that manner to secure what they hoped would be an innings eater at a controlled cost of around $8 million a year. It didn’t work out that way, but it was a gamble worth taking because now that innings eater is averaging around $14 million a year. The Royals can’t go out and sign multiple starting pitchers in an off season, but they can stagger their contracts to alleviate the pain.
Rany Jazayerli has mixed feelings.
I don't hate the deal. I certainly don't hate it as much as I hated, say, the Kendrys Morales deal, and that worked out okay. Just...risky.— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) January 16, 2016
Kennedy's career compares favorably with Edinson Volquez, Anibal Sanchez, Chris Young, Matt Garza, Clay Buchholz. pic.twitter.com/ksL5YpQb0B— Tod Palmer (@todpalmer) January 17, 2016
And Royals fans were happy to see the team spend some money.
David Glass, man. I can't think of another team owner, in any sport this century, who has experienced such a reputation redemption. #Royals— Ryan Noonan (@ryanjnoonan) January 16, 2016
#Royals ! (@MandyMeyer) pic.twitter.com/HmgtX86ve0— Conrad McGorkin (@ConradMcGorkin) January 16, 2016
Think we’ve all acknowledged its a two year window anyway. If we give Kennedy more money than he’s worth during rebuilding I’m ok with it.— Tom (@TJFsports) January 16, 2016
@royalsreview 180 innings of fair starting pitching goes a long way on this squad— Alec Junge (@crash_the_dog) January 16, 2016
Over 2 years, Kennedy has managed about same K/BB% as Cueto, Zimmermann, Hamels and Phil Hughes. Higher than Dallas Keuchel.— JKuhn (@h8rproof82) January 16, 2016
@royalsreview Kennedy pitched to 3rd best opposing OPS lineup in NL, not team but actual batters faced & in 10th most hitter friendly park— Andy Brand (@ABJayhawk) January 16, 2016
Nanny Id Eek is an anagram for Ian Kennedy.— Mike Engel (@michaelengel) January 16, 2016