25 Predictions for September Baseball – Bleacher Report
A 21-game winner and legitimate NL Cy Young candidate in 2011, Ian Kennedy struggled to duplicate that level of success until a bounce-back season last year.
In what was his first full season with the San Diego Padres, Kennedy went 13-13 with a 3.63 ERA, 1.289 WHIP and 207 strikeouts in 201 innings of work.
His 3.21 FIP was good for eighth in the National League, and he looked poised for a big contract year heading into 2015.
Instead, he began the season at 2-5 with a 7.15 ERA in his first eight starts while also missing time with a hamstring injury as his stock reached an all-time low.
He’s turned a major corner since the start of June, though, going 6-7 with a 2.63 ERA and 1.150 WHIP while recording 11 quality starts in 16 games.
After opting not to deal him (or anyone for that matter) at the trade deadline, the Padres have an interesting decision to make with the 30-year-old this coming offseason.
If he can finish strong, the floor in negotiations with Kennedy could be the four-year, $48 million deal Brandon McCarthy signed with the Dodgers.
He may not get the annual value of a qualifying offer, which was $15.3 million last year and will likely climb again this winter, but multiple years will almost certainly be on the table.
That would make a qualifying offer a wise move for the Padres, as he’s a good bet to decline the offer and hit the open market, leaving the Padres with a compensatory draft pick at the very least.
It all hinges on how he performs over the final month of the season though.