Royals starter Ian Kennedy has had a miserable season, the second leg of a five-year, $70 million contract he signed in January 2016. He has the ability to opt out after the 2017 season, but it doesn’t sound like he’s going to. The right-hander said, via Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, “It would be pretty stupid if I did.”
Kennedy, 32, has made 26 starts this season, putting up a 5.37 ERA with a 113/55 K/BB ratio in 135 2/3 innings. As far as his peripherals go, all the good stats are down (e.g. strikeout rate) and all of the bad stats are up (e.g. walk rate, home run rate).
Kennedy said, “I don’t think anybody would want how I’ve been throwing lately. Shoot, I haven’t thought about it. If you’re throwing well, then you start thinking about it. But right now, it doesn’t look too good. You don’t go to the free agent market pitching how I’ve been. No one is going to want that.”
Next season, Kennedy will earn $16 million, then $16.5 million in 2019 and ’20. He will be 35 years old in the final year of his current contract.
The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.
Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.
With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.
Brewers’ minor league infielder Julio Mendez remains in “critical but stable condition,” club GM David Stearns announced Friday. Back in August, Mendez suffered a cardiac event after he was inadvertently struck by a ball from the Angels’ Austin Krzeminksi during a game between the rookie-level affiliates. The 20-year-old was removed to a Phoenix-area hospital for treatment following the incident and has recently been transferred to a hospital in his native Venezuela.
Mendez was in his fourth season with the Brewers’ organization. He spent the majority of his 2017 run with the rookie-level AZL Brewers, slashing .255/.294/.355 with 10 extra-base hits, 16 RBI and four stolen bases over 119 plate appearances. He currently holds a career .241/.324/.309 batting line, 33 extra bases and a .633 OPS through 668 PA.
Baseball is still on the back burner, however, as Mendez appears to have made little progress nearly a month following the hit by pitch. Thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.