Ian Kennedy to the Kansas City Royals has been agreed to, per reports, with the free agent righthanded pitcher reportedly getting 5 years, $70 million.
That's quite the haul for Kennedy, and it has been quite the busy morning already for his agent, Scott Boras, given that he also represents Chris Davis, who agreed to a $161 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles. Kennedy was tendered a qualifying offer by the San Diego Padres, and there was much speculation he'd accept, given that he had a -0.4 bWAR in 2015, with a 4.28 ERA and a 4.51 FIP in the very friendly confines of Petco Park.
Since 2013, Kennedy has a 4.25 ERA and a 4.06 FIP in 550.2 IP, with an 84 ERA+ and a -0.5 bWAR. Nevertheless, the Royals want him at $14 million per year for his age 31-35 seasons, betting that his stuff will support better performance.
If nothing else, this should put to rest the notion that the Rangers might decline Derek Holland's $13 million team option (with a $1.5M buyout) for 2016 if he doesn't have a good year. Relatively young-ish starting pitchers with quality arms are getting paid in this market, even if they are coming off of lousy seasons...if a team is going to give up a first round draft pick to give Kennedy $70M, Holland's market value is going to be more than 1 year, $13M next year so long as he's healthy, regardless of how productive he is.
UPDATE -- Kennedy also gets an opt-out after year two.