Archive for Ian Kennedy
Updated 12:15 a.m.: It looks like Monday was a busier day for the Yankees than we thought. According to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, they discussed a three-way trade with the Tigers and Diamondbacks that would have sent Curtis Granderson to New York and Edwin Jackson to Arizona. Talks, however, reached an impasse. The D-Backs are pushing hard, but the deal “was rejected by at least one of the other two teams.”
I originally thought that team to be the Yankees, and Joel Sherman confirmed as much a few minutes ago. The Yanks thought the costs were too high, and the Tigers were lukewarm on their returns as well. Although the three-way talks are dead, the Yankees are still very much interested in Granderson, not least because their interest could drive Johnny Damon‘s price down.
So what then were the costs to this proposed deal? The Yankees would have lost Ian Kennedy, Mike Dunn, Phil Coke, and Austin Jackson in the trade and gotten back Granderson and “one or two prospects from the Diamondbacks.” The Diamondbacks would have sent the Tigers Matt Scherzer and another prospect or two for Edwin Jackson. So, even though they’d be losing two to four prospects in the deal, the Diamondbacks were the ones pushing for this. It made the situation a bit more interesting.
We can forget about Dunn and Coke, because they’re not the ones who were holding up this deal. I doubt Kennedy was, either. If the Yanks are the stalling party, it’s likely over Austin Jackson. He’s still developing, and his lack of power in 2009 is concerning, but he’s still a good prospect, probably the second best in the Yankees system. The Yankees are reluctant to deal him, and for good reason. If that power tool comes around, he could be a very good MLB center fielder.
Granderson is attractive for a number of reasons, as I outlined in this post. He’s trended downward since his breakout 2007 season, but as with Nick Swisher‘s 2008, 2009 could have just been a bad season for Granderson. As I noted, he hit way, way more fly balls than normal, which led to a lower BABIP and, accordingly, batting average. I can definitely see Granderson recovering to his 2008 form, which would be great news for the Yankees. He could instantly replace Johnny Damon in the outfield and in the two-hole.
Getting two prospects back from the Diamondbacks would have helped soften the blow of losing Jackson, but we still don’t know which prospects were under discussion. Without mentioning prospects, the Diamondbacks are getting both Kennedy and Edwin Jackson and giving up only Scherzer. Maybe both the Tigers and the Yanks get a B-prospect from the D-Backs. So is Granderson and a B-prospect worth Austin Jackson?
As with most rumors, I discussed this one with both Ben and Mike for a while before even starting to write. All three of us are on the fence. If the Yanks pulled the trigger, we’d welcome the new center fielder. If they didn’t, we’d maintain hope for Jackson. It’s nice not to be disappointed either way. But, gun to my head, I do the trade. I have faith that Granderson can recover, and while I do want to see Austin Jackson grow into his pinstripes, there are some situations where trading prospects makes sense. I can see this being one of those situations.
In the winter of 2007-2008, when River Ave. Blues was still in its blog infancy, the hot topic of the Hot Stove League was Johan Santana. The Twins were gearing up to trade their lefty ace, and the Yankees were deeply involved in the negotiations.
As the winter dragged on, we staked out a position deemed extreme by many — but not Yanks’ GM Brian Cashman. “Save the Big Three,” we proclaimed, as it became clear that any Johan Santana deal would probably include some combination of Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy along with other top prospects or Major League contributors. The money, we argued, would be better spent on CC Sabathia a year later when the big man hit free agency. Plus, we reasoned, the Yanks wouldn’t have to pay twice for CC, first in prospects and then in dollars, as they would for Santana.
When all was said and done that winter, our position held the day, but it was not without controversy. Throughout 2008 and even into 2009, a debate raged among Yankee fans over that non-trade, and when the Yanks missed the playoffs in 2008 for the first time since 1994, Cashman and the anti-trade faction received its fair share of criticism.
Yet, last winter, the pieces fell into place. The Yanks landed CC Sabathia, and this year, that signing has paid off in a big way. CC took home MVP honors after the ALCS, and after posting tremendous numbers this season, Sabathia has powered his way through three playoff starts. It’s been wine and roses for the Yanks and CC this year.
With the Yanks gearing up to face the Phillies in the World Series, let’s take a look at how those pieces from the Santana trade are doing. I’m going to assume that the most popular iteration of the trade — Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera for Johan Santana — would have gotten the deal done. The Yanks probably would have thrown in a fourth lesser prospect as well.
Still just 23 years old, Hughes has been one of the most heralded young arms in recent Yankee history. He made his debut in 2007 and threw admirably as one of the youngest starters in the league. His 2008, however, was a complete wash. He started the season 0-4 with an ERA of 9.00 and then missed May, June, July and August with a variety of injuries. By the end of 2008, Yankee fans were wondering about the hype, and many rued not trading Hughes when his stock was high.
This year, though, has been an utter revelation for Yankee fans and Phil Hughes. He made a few spot starts in place of Chien-Ming Wang and flashed some decent stuff, but the youngster really came into his own upon moving into the bullpen. As the 8th inning bridge to Mariano, Hughes went 5-1 with a 1.44 ERA in 44 games. In 51.1 innings, he walked just 13 and struck out 65. He put up a 22.7 RAR and a 2.2 WAR out of the bullpen, and without Hughes in the 8th, the Yanks’ season would have played out much differently.
For Melky, 2008 was a setback. He was the subject of many trade rumors and didn’t play well at all. He hit .249/.301/.341 and lost his starting job to Brett Gardner by early August. This year, though, with increased competition from Gardner, Melky responded in turn. Although he faded a bit down the stretch, Melky hit .274/.336/.416 with a career-best in home runs (13), doubles (28) and OPS+ (97). In the ALCS, he went 9 for 23 with four RBI and three walks. At 25, Melky has 2148 Major League plate appearances under his belt and could yet turn into an adequate offensive outfielder.
Similar to Hughes, Kennedy had a terrible 2008. He also went 0-4 with a gaudy 8.17 ERA and found himself demoted after not pitching poorly. To make matters worse, he flashed an attitude unappreciated by many in New York. This year, he had a strong start at AAA but came down with an aneurysm in his arm. He made a triumphant return to the Majors and threw an inning against Anaheim in mid-September. He is currently throwing in the Arizona Fall League where he has allowed five earned runs in 11.1 innings but has a 13:1 K:BB ratio. He will probably factor into the Yanks’ 2010 plans.
The centerpiece of the deal landed in New York after all but in Queens and not the Bronx. He has been a bright spot amidst a dismal Mets team. With the Mets, he has gone 29-16 in 59 starts. He has a 2.79 ERA in the NL and has struck 352 while walking 109 in 401 innings. His K/9 IP in the NL is 1.6 strike outs lower than it was in the AL. This season, his velocity started trending downward, and he missed the final six weeks of the season after undergoing surgery to remove bone chips in his arm. The Mets still owe him at least $98.5 million over the next four seasons or $118 million over five.
Late last week, Cashman spoke with John Harper of the Daily News about this very topic. “When we added David Cone from Toronto,” Cashman said “we were a piece away at the time. But when Santana became available, in my opinion we weren’t a piece away yet. So I told ownership, ‘Listen, six months really isn’t a long time to wait – though it turned out to be a long time for me, to be honest – and if we can have the patience and discipline, I can’t guarantee you we’ll be able to get Sabathia, but think about what our organization will look like if we can add him and keep these other assets.’”
And so today, those assets are still in place. The Yankees are playing the World Series with CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera primed to contribute. Although Ian Kennedy hasn’t yet been what we expected and Melky has hit some development roadblocks over the last few years, the Yankees are right where they expected to be when Cashman turned down the Santana offer. I certainly think it’s worked out nicely for them. Do you?
If I told you that the Yanks would win a game in Anaheim with Jerry Hairston, Jr., Shelley Duncan, Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner and Jose Molina all in the same lineup, would you believe me? What if I told you that Damaso Marte, Jonathan Albaladejo, Phil Coke and Ian Kennedy would be called upon to get a combined seven outs in the middle of the affair? What if I added that the Yanks hadn’t won a series in Anaheim since May 2004?
In a turn of events sure to confound those fans who are convinced that the Yankees can’t win a game in Angels Stadium, the Bombers’ C lineup and their C bullpen corps downed the Angels today 3-2. Robinson Cano, struggling all year with runners in scoring position, came through with a huge hit, and A.J. Burnett struck out 11 in 5.2 strong innings of work. Ian Kennedy gave us all a heart attack but held down the eighth in his return to the Majors. With their victory, the Yanks saw their Magic Number drop to 5 and their lead above the Red Sox increase to a temporary 6.5.
For the first few innings, the Scott Kazmir/A.J. Burnett pitching duel lived up to its billing. While the Angels left a man on base in every inning of the game, Burnett had the K pitch working this afternoon. He was sitting between 95 and 97 for most of the game and recorded 11 of his 17 outs by the strike out. With that stuff, the runners on base won’t score.
The Yankees broke through first, finally getting to Kazmir in fourth. While Jerry Hairston, Jr., struck out, Mark Teixeira doubled, and Hideki Matsui walked. Shelley Duncan lined a single just over Chone Figgins’ glove to left, and because Teixeira started back to second when it seemed as though Figgins would make the play, Juan Rivera gunned him down at the plate. With two outs, Robinson Cano and his struggles with runners in scoring position came to the plate, he lined a two-out, two-run single to left and advanced on the throw. Melky Cabrera would drive Cano in with a double, and those three runs would be all the Yanks would need.
In the bottom of the fifth, Burnett ran into a spot of trouble. Mike Napoli singled, and Chone Figgins doubled. With two on and no one out, Burnett bore down. He struck out Erick Aybar, and Robinson Cano ranged far to his left to snare a Bobby Abreu ground ball. A run would score, but Burnett pitched out of the inning.
In the sixth, the bullpen would take over. After Burnett allowed another run to score, Damaso Marte retired Figgins. An inning later, Jonathan Albaladejo would take over, but his stay was short-lived. After a double, Phil Coke came in and struck out Kendry Morales. Coke has lost seven pounds over the last two days with a bad stomach bug, but he got a huge out with the tying run in scoring position.
One of the stories of the game around in the 8th. With Al Aceves and Phil Hughes unavailable and Brian Bruney in the dog house, Ian Kennedy came in for his return to the Bigs after aneurysm surgery. He seemed nervous and struggled with his control, loading the bases on a hit by pitch and two walks. But he pitched around it. He got the first out when Juan Rivera lined to Ramiro Peña at third and struck out Maicer Izturis with two on. With the bases loaded, Erick Aybar flew out to Shelley Duncan. Threat over.
In the 9th, Rivera nailed down the game, and all was right with the Yanks. A.J. had another strong start, and Joe will look at his resurgence in the morning. The Yanks knocked another game off the Magic Number counter and have now won three of their last four against Anaheim. The Yanks are sitting pretty.
Hairston Injury Update
Jerry Hairston left the game in the 7th when he felt his wrist pop, and PeteAbe speculates that Hairston’s injury could be serious. Apparently, Hairston first injured his wrist while with the Reds and received an MRI and cortisone shot ten days ago. He will have another scan tomorrow. I wouldn’t expect much from him for the rest of the year, but then again, I wasn’t really expecting much from him anyway.
Feel free to make this an Open Thread. Talk about the game. Talk about Kennedy for the 8th. Talk about the long wait until the Friday night game against the Red Sox. Just play nice.
Here’s a bit of a surprise courtesy of Chad Jennings: The Yankees have activated Ian Kennedy from the disabled list. Kennedy has also been optioned to Tampa which means he’ll likely be starting the Florida State League championship game in about 35 minutes. Kennedy last threw a simulated game on Tuesday and was set to throw another 50-pitch simulated game today. I believe his pitch count will be in place, but he’ll be facing live batters in a real game instead. This is some good news indeed.
A few hours ago, Joe examined the recent spate of arm injuries currently plaguing the Yankee farm system. One of those pitchers is on the mend. Ian Kennedy, five months removed from an aneurysm in his throwing arm, tossed a simulated game yesterday in Tampa. He threw 22 of 33 pitches for strikes and said afterward that he felt good. While Kennedy doesn’t expect to pitch in any of the Minor League playoff games, he will throw a 50-pitch simulated game on Saturday and plans to pitch in both an instructional league this month and the Arizona Fall League starting in October. With a strong fall and a solid spring, Kennedy will be in the mix for a spot on the Big League club next year.
Chad Jennings checks in with a report on rehabbing hurler Ian Kennedy, who made a brief cameo in the Triple-A Scranton clubhouse yesterday. “It feels good,” Kennedy said. “It doesn’t feel like anything ever happened. It’s a long process, but I understand we have to be on the cautious side because if something did happen, I’d be pretty upset at myself for pushing it.” IPK has been throwing 35-pitch bullpen sessions in Tampa, working on all four pitches to both sides of the dish.
He’s not going to make it into a game before the minor league season ends in a little over a week, so instead Kennedy will head to instructional league at the end of September before reporting to the Arizona Fall League. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to seeing him at full strength next spring.
Ian Kennedy, rehabbing his way back from an arm aneurysm, spoke to reporters about his rehab plans today. The Yankees’ right-hander said that he probably won’t pitch in a Minor League game this season but will return to competitive action next month in one of the fall instructional leagues. Kennedy has been throwing his fastball and changeup during recent mound sessions, and while the AP says he will pitch in the Arizona Fall League this year, based on the eligibility requirements, Kennedy shouldn’t be able to play there. While he fits the service time requirement, he will not be off the Minor League DL 45 days prior to the end of the season. Rosters for the AzFL teams will be released soon.
As Chien-Ming Wang has struggled and Phil Hughes has landed in the bullpen, the Yanks have struggled to find an adequate fifth starter. While I’m not too thrilled at the prospects of another Sergio Mitre start, the Yanks sound as though they are heading down that path. One pitcher — Ian Kennedy — never had his chance this year. Prior to coming down with an aneurysm, Kennedy was 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA in four starts for AAA Scranton. He had a 25:7 K:BB ratio in 22.2 innings and would have had ample opportunity to earn that fifth starter role had injury not struck.
Today, we hear that Kennedy has thrown 25 pitches from a mound for the first time since April and will do so again on Friday. The 24-year-old wants to pitch in a Minor League game before the season ends on Sept. 7. Ticketed to winter ball, Kennedy unfortunately won’t make it back to the Bronx this year but should be in the picture come 2010. (Thanks to all who sent a tip about Kennedy to us. Keep on using that contact form.)
Mini-mound? That’s a new one to me, but apparently it’s just a mound that’s only 5-inches high. Anyway, Ian Kennedy threw 25 pitches off one today, and plans to do it again on Friday. “Another hurdle cleared,” Kennedy said. “I felt really good. I’m happy with that. I’m happy with the progress. I’m still on schedule and haven’t had any problems yet. ” IPK also said that he saw a doctor last week and that everything is going well. He hopes to get into a game before the minor league season ends, and will head to the Puerto Rican Winter League one way of the other.
Imagine if he ends up taking Mitre’s place in September. That would be something.