Ian Kennedy pitched his last disappointing game with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night. In fact, when the right-hander walked off the mound, after allowing three runs and six hits in just five innings of work, it would be the last he would do so in a D-Backs uniform. Arizona has traded the 28-year-old to the San Diego Padres in exchange for reliever Joe Thatcher, Double-AA reliever Matt Stites and a compensatory-round draft pick.
Kennedy won 48 games for the Snakes over four seasons, yet has regressed since his 21-win, 2.88 ERA season in 2011. Last year, he earned 15 victories but his ERA skyrocketed to 4.02. This season, it has been even worse; he is 3-8 with 5.23 ERA. His last victory came on June 1.
Thatcher, a lefty-specialist will certainly add depth to the Diamondbacks bullpen. Through 30 innings this season, the 31-year-old has a 3-1 record, with a 2.10 ERA. He has struck out 29 hitters while only walking 4. The Padres are also sending Stites to Arizona, a Class AA reliever who boasts a 2.08 ERA with 51 strikeouts to 8 walks so far this season.
Below is a scouting report from scoutingbook.com on Stites:
A smallish closer candidate in the Padres minor league system, U Missouri alum Matt Stites ran his high-90’s fastball right through the Midwest League in 2012, posting this insane performance line that contains no typographical errors: 50 innings, 0.74 ERA, 0.58 WHIP, 60 strikeouts and (wait for it) 3 walks.
Stites complements his heat with a ‘changeup’ that still clocks in the high 80’s and a breaking ball that’s either a 12-7 slider or a hard curve, depending on your school of thought. Either way, it’s devastating when it comes in unannounced. Despite his smallish stature, Stites has all the confidence and swagger you expect from a quality relief pitcher. He’s shown no fear of any hitter, at least not yet. As the top relief prospect in the Padres system, and with all due respect to the outstanding Huston Street, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Stites closing games by the end of 2014.
Note: The deal has yet to be finalized, so be sure to continue to check Venom Strikes for all the latest news.
Update, 12:02pm (MST): The deal is official. So long, Mr. Kennedy.