Rangers Sign Ian Kennedy to Minors Deal

Rangers Sign Ian Kennedy to Minors Deal
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The Texas Rangers are bringing a familiar face back into the fold, as the club has signed right-hander Ian Kennedy. The club announced the deal on Thursday afternoon. Presumably, it’ll be a minor league deal for the Boras Corporation client. The 38-year old righty will look to recapture some of his early-2021 success with a second chance with the Rangers.

Success in 2021

Kennedy spent the first half of the 2021 season in a Rangers uniform. Those months were among the best of his past four seasons as a full-time reliever. After securing a spot on the major league roster following an offseason minors deal, Ian Kennedy quickly pitched his way into the closer’s role. He saved 16 games through 32 appearances while posting a 2.51 ERA over 32 1/3 frames. At that summer’s trade deadline, the then-rebuilding Rangers packaged Kennedy with veteran starter Kyle Gibson to the Phillies for right-hander Spencer Howard.

No Stranger to the Long Ball

One thing that has been problematic for Ian Kennedy in recent years has been giving up home runs. The 16-year veteran fanned almost 27% of opponents in a brief stint in 2021 with the Philadelphia Phillies, but surrendered a staggering seven homers in 24 innings. In spite of the poor finish, Kennedy was able to secure a $4.75 million deal from the Arizona Diamondbacks last winter.

The 2022 season was Kennedy’s second stint with the Diamondbacks, in which he made 57 appearances. He struggled over that stretch. Kennedy posted a 5.36 ERA over 50 1/3 innings. He continued to battle the long ball, allowing nearly two home runs per nine innings. His strikeout percentage plummeted to a 19% clip. At season’s end, the D-Backs made the fairly easy decision to buy out a mutual option on his services for 2023.

Call to the Pen

Ian Kennedy made the transition from starter to reliever in 2019. Since making the move, he carries a 4.30 ERA in 190 appearances. Kennedy has shown the ability to miss bats at an above-average rate while throwing a decent number of strikes at his best. Kennedy was well-received by the fans during his time in Arlington. It will be interesting to see how he fares in their system in the upcoming 2023 season.

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