Buying low. Not something seen very often at the trade deadline in baseball. 99% of the time teams want hot prospects or major league talent in their trades, few teams want to trade for the post-hype prospects. This year we have had the Cubs trade for two post hype prospects in Strop and Arrieta and now the San Diego Padres have done the same with their acquisition of Ian Kennedy. The Arizona Diamondbacks traded RHP Ian Kennedy to the San Diego Padres for LHP Joe Thatcher, RHP Matt Stites and a compensation pick (the only allowable to be traded) between the 2nd and 3rd round according to Jeff Passan.
Ian Kennedy goes to Padres for reliever Joe Thatcher, relief prospect Matt Stites and a draft pick between the second and third rounds.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 31, 2013
Kennedy has had some minor control issues throughout his career but has limited his BB/9 to under 3 for the last few season. It has jumped back up to 3.5 BB/9 this season and he leads the NL with 10 hit batsmen. However, he is still a quality young pitcher at age 28 who finished 4th place in Cy Young voting in 2011. He hasn’t had much success ever since the 2011 campaign where he finished the season with a 2.88 ERA. The Padres value young controllable pieces and that is exactly what they get in Ian Kennedy to continue their small chance of contention in 2013. Kennedy is eligible for arbitration this year and next before he is able to hit free agency in 2016. He is on his way to another 200 inning season and is a valuable #5 with HIGH upside. For a team with a lot of bullpen excess, this is a nice get for an unnecessary piece.
The Diamondbacks got rid of a severely under-performing pitcher in Ian Kennedy that still holds value around the league in order to get a left-handed specialist in Joe Thatcher that has a great triple slash of .215/.257/.231 against left-handers. The reason that Kennedy isn’t needed by the Diamondbacks is that they have Cahill and McCarthy coming off the DL soon and Archie Bradley (the top pitching prospect in baseball) waiting in the minors for his September call up.
On top of the major league help they got in Thatcher, the Diamondbacks and GM Kevin Towers also received relief pitching prospect Matt Stites. While Stites still holds some rotation possibility, he features four pitchers but only two are projectable to the major leagues, he is likely a reliever with control and a mid 90’s fastball and a sharp slider. His makeup has been said to look like a late inning reliever and the Diamondbacks could very well use a closer in the next year or two. Finally, they also receive a nice throw-in with the draft pick they acquired in the trade. It is a compensation pick because they are the only draft picks currently allowed to be traded but it will fall between the 2nd and 3rd rounds. It likely won’t become an impact player but it also isn’t nothing.
This is a great little haul for Arizona GM Kevin Towers, but it could also represent a fantastic buy-low by Padres GM Josh Byrnes. Only time will tell.