Rangers Designate Ian Kennedy for Assignment

Ian Kennedy
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

The Texas Rangers have designated right-hander Ian Kennedy for assignment. The announcement came on Thursday afternoon. Taking his spot on the roster will be lefty John King, who was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock. Kennedy returned to the Rangers on a minor league deal and cracked the Opening Day roster. Since then, he has struggled. He has posted a 7.20 ERA through his first 11 outings, and has now lost his 40-man roster spot with the Rangers.

Effective Starter

The 38-year-old righty spent many seasons as an effective starter. He spent time with the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, and Kansas City Royals. Ian Kennedy moved to a relief role in recent years with inconsistent results. He posted an ERA of 3.41 with the Royals in 2019 and saw that figure spike to 9.00 in the shortened 2020 season. Kennedy did well in 2021 with a 3.20 ERA between the Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies, then parlayed that into a $4.75 million pact with the Diamondbacks for 2022. That led to another downturn, however, as he had a 5.36 ERA with them last year.

Looking to Rebound

With mixed results in recent years, it would have seemed like Ian Kennedy was due for a rebound year. Taking a closer look, things might not be quite as bad as that ERA seems. Kennedy has struck out 28.3% of batters faced against a 6.5% walk rate. He’s allowed a .357 batting average on balls in play and has a 36.8% strand rate, both of which are on the unlucky side of average, particularly the latter figure. The league averages for those stats this year are .295 and 71.6%. Advanced metrics feel that Ian Kennedy deserved much better, including his 3.21 FIP, 3.36 xERA, and 3.22 SIERA.

Rangers Next Move

The Rangers will now have a week to trade Ian Kennedy or pass him through waivers. There will likely be clubs willing to overlook the 7.20 ERA in a small sample, especially with many teams around the league dealing with various injuries. In the event Kennedy clears waivers, he has more than enough service time to reject an outright assignment and elect free agency.

 

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