The Rangers signed pitcher Ian Kennedy. Ten years ago that would have been huge news. Now it’s late-February, small type, “Elsewhere in baseball…” kind of news.
Ten years ago, Ian Kennedy had an incredible season as a starter for for the Arizona Diamondbacks. His 2011 season included a 21-4 record with a 2.88 ERA.
That was a blip in an otherwise mediocre career. Since 2011, as a starter, Kennedy’s ERA is 4.26. He’s won 60 games and lost 74.
Kennedy is one of those One Glorious Year players that teams sign hoping they can somehow recapture the magic. They don’t.
Since that One Glorious Year of 2011, the 36-year-old right-handed pitcher has been pretty mediocre. He made the inevitable transition to the bullpen in 2019, becoming the Royals closer, earning 30 saves with only four blown saves. He wasn’t quite so effective in 2020, losing the closer role and putting up a 9.00 ERA.
When you have an ERA of 9.00, the Rangers come calling.
Yesterday they signed Kennedy to a minor-league contract with an invitation to the major league camp.
Meaning, they intend for him to end up in their bullpen. But, since he is a former starter, and since the Rangers have a rotation full of starters with innings limits, Rangers manager Chris Woodward floated the idea that Kennedy might be used in a “piggyback” role where he basically comes into a game early to take over for another pitcher’s abbreviated start.
Welcome to the Texas Rangers, Ian Kennedy. Welcome to a team that, like you, hasn’t had a whole lot of success since 2011.