D-backs bring back RHP Ian Kennedy on 1-year deal

Mar 16, 2022, 11:43 AM | Updated: 11:46 am

Ian Kennedy #31 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a pitch against the New York Mets at Citi Fiel...

Ian Kennedy #31 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a pitch against the New York Mets at Citi Field on July 4, 2013 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks and veteran relief pitcher Ian Kennedy agreed to a one-year contract, the team announced on Wednesday.

Kennedy reportedly accepted a $4.75 million deal with $2.35 million in incentives, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Arizona said the contract has a “mutual option” for 2023.

The 37-year-old returns to the Valley after starting 119 games for the D-backs from 2010-13. His ERA in that span was 3.82.

Kennedy’s most accomplished season was in 2011 when Arizona won the National League West. He had a 2.88 ERA and finished fourth in the NL Cy Young award race.

The Diamondbacks traded him to the San Diego Padres during the 2013 season, and he has played for four teams since then.

He became a full-time reliever for the Kansas City Royals in 2019 when he took over as their closer. He finished that year with 30 saves, a 3.41 ERA and a career-high 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

Kennedy continued his success out of the ‘pen last season when he pitched for the Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies. He did not surrender a run over his final six outings and finished with a 3.20 ERA and 26 saves.

His average four-seam fastball was faster over the past three seasons than at any point during his career, per Baseball Savant.

He and Mark Melancon are veteran additions the D-backs have made to the bullpen this offseason. Arizona’s relievers owned the third-highest ERA in MLB last season.

No Diamondback had more than six saves last year.

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