Kennedy, Upton reject qualifying offers
Both players turn down one-year, $15.8 million offers
SAN DIEGO -- Even though the Padres made two trades this week, the team was waiting to see if pitcher Ian Kennedy would accept or decline its qualifying offer Friday before fully moving forward into the offseason.
When Kennedy declined the qualifying offer -- if accepted, he would have returned to San Diego for 2016 for $15.8 million -- it essentially gave the team a better idea of what it needs to do and has to work with financially this winter.
Outfielder Justin Upton declined the team's qualifying offer as well, meaning that the Padres get two additional Draft picks at the end of the first round as compensation for both players if they sign elsewhere.
The Padres could have five picks before the third round in next June's Draft -- or five picks in roughly the top 70 overall selections.
The Padres would have their own protected pick at No. 8 overall, the two additional picks for losing Upton and Kennedy, their second-round pick and a competitive balance pick after the second round.
While Upton's decision wasn't a surprise at all, there was some thought Kennedy could accept and hope to parlay a big 2016 season into a bigger, multiyear deal.
But Kennedy's agent, Scott Boras, likely advised otherwise. The Padres gambled some with the qualifying offer, though they maintained publically that they like Kennedy and would have been fine with him returning on a one-year deal.
But for a franchise that will likely have an Opening Day payroll in the vicinity of $120 million, Kennedy's return would have certainly tied general manager A.J. Preller's hands to some extent in terms of the pursuit of free agents this winter.
The Padres, who already have about $75 million committed to six players with a projected $100 million essentially tied up when you include arbitration-eligible players, also now know they must find a way to replace Kennedy's 30 starts.
Kennedy, 30, made $9.85 million this past season. He was 9-15 with a 4.28 ERA in 30 starts in 2015, marking the third time in as many seasons he's reached the 30-start mark.
His statistics from this year were a bit misleading, as he landed on the disabled list in his first start due to a strained left hamstring and was slow to round into form once he returned.
From June 13 to Sept. 2 -- a span that covered 15 starts -- Kennedy posted a 2.45 ERA and limited opposing batters to a .216 average.
He allowed a career-high 31 home runs, but his strikeout percentage (24.4) was just a tick off where it was in 2014 (24.5).
The Padres have James Shields, Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner returning to the rotation. They'll now need to find a replacement for Kennedy, though it could come internally, as the team is giving serious consideration to having Brandon Maurer move from the bullpen to the rotation.
Lefty Robbie Erlin is a possibility to help fill out the rotation, as is righty Colin Rea, though Preller has said the team could pursue a left-hander from outside of the organization to help fill the rotation.