Padres will make offer to J-Up; mulling Kennedy
SAN DIEGO -- Making a decision on whether to give outfielder Justin Upton a qualifying offer essentially rates as a no-brainer for the team.
With starting pitcher Ian Kennedy, it's a little more complicated.
According to a team source, the Padres will offer Upton a qualifying offer and likely will do so for Kennedy as well. The club has not publicly confirmed its plans.
Teams have until 2 p.m. PT on Friday to extend qualifying offers to free agents. If the player declines and opts to sign elsewhere, then the team receives Draft pick compensation.
If the player accepts -- and to date, no one has -- the player will return to his team in 2016 for a one-year salary of $15.8 million.
The Padres always planned on giving Upton a qualifying offer, and he could very well command one of the largest free-agent deals this offseason for a position player.
As for Kennedy, the Padres would love to acquire an additional Draft pick, though members of the organization have expressed interest in having the right-hander return in 2016. So it may be a no-lose deal for the team: retain a durable starter who has a 3.97 ERA in three seasons with the team or gain an additional Draft pick to help refill the depleted farm system.
Kennedy, 30, made $9.85 million in this past season and will likely turn down the qualifying offer, instead seeking a multiyear deal. He's represented by Scott Boras, who could certainly advise Kennedy to decline the offer in order to pursue greener pastures.
Kennedy was 9-15 with a 4.28 ERA in 30 starts in 2015, marking the third time in as many seasons he's surpassed 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 of 15 starts -- Kennedy had a 2.45 ERA and limited opposing batters to a .216 average.
Kennedy was asked after his final regular-season start if it might have been his last with the Padres.
"There's plenty of opportunities to talk. I think [general manager] A.J. [Preller] and [agent Scott Boras] have a good relationship. I feel I have the same relationship with him [Preller]," Kennedy said.
"We'll see how things go this offseason. It's something I'm excited for, to see where things go. But I loved playing here and pitching for the Padres."