The Padres are leaning toward giving free agent Ian Kennedy a qualifying offer, a club source said. The team’s official decision on the right-hander is expected to be made very close to Friday’s 2 p.m. (PST) deadline.
No player has accepted a qualifying offer since the system was introduced in November 2012, but Kennedy could be the first if the Friars do indeed extend one.
He posted an underwhelming 4.28 ERA in 168 1/3 innings this past season for the Padres while earning $9.85 million in his final year of salary arbitration. If Kennedy wants to try to re-establish his market value on a high-priced one-year deal, there probably isn’t a better place to do that than pitcher-friendly San Diego.
Kennedy is represented by super agent Scott Boras and he had a very good 2014, so maybe the 30-year-old right-hander will try to maximize his earning potential both in contract length and total dollars on the open market. That would put the Padres in line for draft-pick compensation if a qualifying offer is made and then rejected.
FanGraphs’ community projections have Kennedy getting something like three years, $36 million. David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmermann, Mike Leake, Marco Estrada, Hisashi Iwakuma, Scott Kazmir, Wei-Yin Chen, and Yovani Gallardo are some of the other members of this stacked free agent starting pitcher class.