Author: Bill Baer

Ian Kennedy
AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Ian Kennedy expected to reject Padres’ qualifying offer

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Pitcher Ian Kennedy is expected to turn down the Padres’ $15.8 million qualifying offer, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune suggests. The Padres also made a qualifying offer to outfielder Justin Upton, but there is much more certainty that he will turn it down to seek a multi-year deal in free agency.

A player has yet to accept a qualifying offer since the system was implemented. The 30-year-old Kennedy, coming off of a rough season in which he finished with a 4.28 ERA across 30 starts, might accept. However, since he is still relatively young and has a couple of solid seasons under his belt, Kennedy may be able to land a multi-year deal on the open market. He has made 30-plus starts in each of his last six seasons despite inconsistent results.

Kennedy earned $9.85 million for the 2015 season, avoiding arbitration in his final year of eligibility, so $15.8 million would represent a hefty raise for the right-hander.

Correction: The Red Sox do not have an agreement with Byung-ho Park

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Correction: Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports has clarified that the Red Sox do not have an agreement with Byung-ho Park. Rather, they have a working agreement with Parks’ team, the Nexen Heroes. HardballTalk regrets the error. Our apologies to Passan.

6:05 p.m. ET: Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Red Sox have a working agreement with Korean first baseman Byung-ho Park. It was reported on Friday that Parks’ team, the Nexen Heroes, had accepted a $12.85 million posting fee from a then-unknown team.

Park, 29, has been a fearsome power hitter in the KBO League, particularly in the last two years as he’s hit 50-plus home runs with a 120-plus RBI and an average above .300 in both seasons.

Passan adds that Dae-Ho Lee is also drawing some interest. Unlike Park, Lee is a free agent and an interesting team wouldn’t need to pay a posting fee first. The 33-year-old hit 31 home runs for the Softbank Hawks last year.

Cubs claim Ryan Cook off waivers from the Red Sox

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 29:  Ryan Cook #48 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the seventh inning at O.co Coliseum on April 29, 2015 in Oakland, California. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim defeated the Oakland Athletics 6-3. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports that the Cubs have claimed reliever Ryan Cook off waivers from the Red Sox.

Cook, 28, was coming off of three consecutive great seasons out of the bullpen for the Athletics, but he pitched poorly in spring training and spent most of the season with Triple-A Nashville. In 33 1/3 innings at the minor league level, he posted a 4.05 ERA with a 26/14 K/BB ratio.

The Red Sox acquired him from the A’s at the end of July for a player to be named later or cash considerations and he went on to throw 9 1/3 scoreless innings with Triple-A Pawtucket.

Michael Cuddyer underwent “core muscle” surgery on Thursday

Michael Cuddyer
AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek
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Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer underwent “core muscle” surgery on Thursday. He notes that the terminology is typically slang for a sports hernia.

Cuddyer, 37 in March, is heading into the last year of a two-year, $21 million contract signed with the Mets last November. During the regular season, he batted a lackluster .259/.309/.391 with 10 home runs and 41 RBI across 408 plate appearances. Cuddyer also had only one hit while striking out seven times in 12 playoff PA.

While the Mets aren’t expected to be able to bring Yoenis Cespedes back, Cuddyer figures to contribute as a platoon outfielder at best next season.

Athletics claim Andrew Lambo off waivers from the Pirates

Andrew Lambo
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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The Athletics announced that outfielder Andrew Lambo has been claimed off waivers from the Pirates.

Lambo, 27, missed most of this past season due to plantar fasciitis. In 27 plate appearances, he had just one hit (a double). He has a career .530 OPS across 99 career plate appearances at the big league level.

Lambo hit well in the minors and is under team control through 2020, so the Athletics are hoping he can live up to his potential in a new uniform.