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Ian Kennedy’s Going to San Diego

The San Diego Padres have acquired starting pitcher Ian Kennedy from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for reliever Joe Thatcher, relief prospect Matt Stites, and a compensation pick in next year’s draft.

Kennedy, a former 21-game winner, has struggled mightily with Arizona this season, ending his stint with a ERA over five and a WHIP over 1.40, both career worsts if we discount the less than 40 innings IPK threw with the Yankees in 2008. Most pitchers don’t benefit from throwing half their starts in the Arizona heat, but Kennedy’s home ERA is has actually been about 0.60 points better than his ERA on the road for his career.

While Petco’s new dimensions aren’t as pitcher friendly as in the past, the park should still play well towards Kennedy’s tendencies to allow balls to fly through the air. IPK is just a season removed from an ERA around four, and two years removed from an ERA below three. Surprisingly, the Diamondbacks’ outfield ranks second defensively according to both UZR and DRS, so Kennedy won’t be getting any sort of added defensive bonus on balls in play. Maybe a new environment will breed new results, but don’t expect anything special from Kennedy. He’s still a solid real-life starter, but he’s really not worth owning in mixed leagues anymore.

Thatcher, going to Arizona in the deal, should continue to post great numbers against left-handed hitters. Thatcher is one of the best LOOGYs in baseball, but he’s not a guy you want squaring off against righties, unless of course you’re looking to give up a homer. Some cheap and dirty holds may come Thatcher’s way, but there’s no reason to add him to your roto squad.

Stites is a 23-year-old closer from the Padres system, and while he’s not devoid of promise, he’s already having troubles with homers in the low minors. Aside from the dongers, Stites’ K/BB rate is phenomenal, but if he’s going to be successful in the D’Backs’ bullpen next season, he’ll really have to work on keeping the ball in the yard. It’s doubtful Stites makes it to the majors this year due to an emergency appendectomy, but he should be a factor going into Spring Training next year.