Eager to add another starter to their rotation following the loss of Johnny Cueto, the Kansas City Royals continue to have dialogue with Ian Kennedy and appear to be making progress on a deal with the right-hander, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
Kennedy, who turned 31 last month, endured another rough season in 2015, his second year in San Diego, but still received a qualifying offer after crafting a 4.28 ERA (85 ERA+) while managing 0.8 WAR for the Padres. Though he made 30 starts last season, Kennedy threw only 168 1/3 innings - his fewest since 2009 - and posted the worst home-run rate (1.66 per nine) and second-worst home-run-to-fly-ball (17.6 percent) ratio among qualified starters.
Still, despite failing to post even a league-average ERA in each of the last three seasons (after adjusting for park effects), Kennedy has held opponents to a .251 batting average while posting the 23rd-best strikeout rate (23.1 percent) in the majors over that span.
The Royals' tentative rotation, meanwhile, remains somewhat uninspired with Cueto now under contract with the San Francisco Giants. Even after re-signing Chris Young, the reigning World Series champions are set to entrust both Kris Medlen and Danny Duffy with starting roles; the former, however, threw just 58 1/3 innings in 2015 in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, while the latter was among the worst in the league at neutralizing right-handed hitters.
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