The San Diego Padres have acquired right-hander Ian Kennedy from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for left-hander Joe Thatcher, minor league pitcher Matt Stites and a compensation round B draft pick, according to MLB.com's Corey Brock.
Kennedy, who drew interest from the Angels and Cubs in addition to the Padres, was recently made available by Arizona after struggling throughout the season. The 28-year old is 3-8 with a 5.23 ERA, 7.8 K/9, and 3.5 BB/9 in 21 starts on the season, but is only two years removed from finishing fourth in the NL Cy Young award after posting a 21-4 record and 2.88 ERA in 33 starts. He is under team control through the 2015 season, and presents the Padres with the rotation arm that they have been looking for all summer.
Thatcher, 31, has been one of the hottest names available on the relief market, and has drawn interest from teams like the Red Sox and Braves. The left-hander is 3-1 with a 2.10 ERA, 8.7 K/9, and 1.2 BB/9 on the season in 50 appearances on the season, and has consistently been one of the most underrated relievers in the game for the last five seasons. The D-Backs were known to be looking for left-handed relief help in recent days, and were able to fill their need by acquiring one of the best options available. Thatcher is under team control until the end of next season.
Stites, a 23-year old reliever, was the Padres' 17th round pick in the 2011 draft, and has spent this season with Double-A San Antonio. In 46 appearances, he has posted a 2-2 record and 2.08 ERA, following a spectacular 2012 season in which he posted a 0.74 ERA in 42 appearances with Single-A Fort Wayne. He was ranked as San Diego's 27th best prospect before the season, and should provide a solid bullpen arm in the minor leagues.
While both teams satisfied needs in the deal, many throughout the game are surprised that the D-Backs did not get more than Thatcher and Stites for Kennedy. Solid 28-year old starters who are under team control for the next two years are rare to find on the trade market, so Kennedy was expected to draw a more significant return to Arizona. Regardless, Thatcher is one of the best lefty relievers in the game and will fill a need for the D-Backs, who also get a promising young minor league bullpen arm.
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