The Kansas City Royals and free agent starting pitcher Ian Kennedy are making progress on a deal and talks are ongoing according to a report by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Chris Cotillo also reported eariler today that the Royals are focusing on getting Kennedy, and that pitching coach Dave Eiland is a key part of this deal getting done. Eiland helped develop Ian Kennedy in the New York Yankees system, and was his pitching coach in 2008-09 with the Yankees. Kennedy and Eieland are reported to have a great working relationship. According to additionals reports, the Royals have also talked to Yovani Gallardo, but at this point they appear to be trending in Kennedy’s direction.
Signing either Kennedy or Gallardo would cost the Royals their first-round pick (24th overall) in this seasons upcoming draft.
Kennedy’s 2015 season was a story of two parts. In his first eight starts, Kennedy recorded a 7.15 ERA, allowing 12 home runs in 39 innings pitched. From June 1 through season’s end, Kennedy had an ERA of 3.41 with a 137-38 K/BB ratio with 19 home runs allowed (that is still a big problem), in 129.1 innings pitched.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has reported that while the Royals aren’t thrilled with the idea of giving up that draft pick, the team needs another starter to help defend their World Series title. Besides ace Edison Volquez the rest of Kansas City’s current rotation is filled with question marks. Kris Medlen, Danny Duffy, and even fireballer Yordano Ventura are all inconsistent.
Ventura has never topped 183 innings in a season, Duffy has never topped 155.1 innings, and Young hasn’t topped more than 165 innings since 2007. Kennedy would provide more innings while lessening the bullpen’s workload. Pitcher-friendly Kauffman Stadium could be an ideal home for Kennedy.