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Former Phillies closer Ian Kennedy agrees to deal with Diamondbacks

It looks like Ian Kennedy’s brief tenure with the Philadelphia Phillies has come to an end.

Kennedy, who was traded to the Phillies along with Kyle Gibson and Hans Crouse in the July 30 deal that sent Spencer Howard to the Texas Rangers in return, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Former Phillie Ian Kennedy is signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

Kennedy’s deal, which is pending a physical, is worth $4.75 million plus a potential $2.35 million in incentives, according to MLB Network and Audacy Sports’ Jon Heyman. 

The right-hander, who converted from starter to reliever ahead of the 2019 season while with Kansas City, earned $2.15 million last year and compiled a 3.20 ERA on the season.

That clip, however, included a 4.13 ERA with the Phillies, and his FIP of 6.21 with the club is even more unsightly. Those struggles were largely onset by his seven home runs allowed in 24 innings. Kennedy converted 10 of his 13 save attempts after the trade.

Though the overall numbers weren’t exactly what the Phillies had hoped for upon acquiring Kennedy, he had some memorably positive moments in Philadelphia. Two of them came during the Phillies’ early-August sweep of the New York Mets — his Aug. 6 save moved the Phillies into first place, and another nail-biting save the next day kept them there.

Of course, he also had some memorably negative moments with the Phillies. Perhaps chief among them was a Sept. 9 blown save against the Colorado Rockies, when Kennedy retired the first two batters of the inning before later surrendering a go-ahead two-run homer to Ryan McMahon (and a solo shot to Sam Hilliard immediately after) in a tough Phillies loss.

Kennedy’s rough conclusion to the season would have made it difficult for the Phillies to justify matching or exceeding the Diamondbacks’ offer. (The team’s main additions to the bullpen this offseason have come in the form of Corey Knebel and, reportedly, Jeurys Familia and Brad Hand.)

Perhaps some familiarity will benefit Kennedy in Phoenix, where he broke out as a 26-year-old by finishing fourth in Cy Young voting in 2011, his best season to date.


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