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Padres rumors: San Diego could want a reunion with Ian Kennedy

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Ian Kennedy will hit the free agent market, but the Padres may explore a return.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Ian Kennedy is about to hit the free agent market, but the San Diego Padres would be open to bringing the right-hander back, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

The 30-year-old is coming off of a rough 2015 season. In 168.1 innings, he went 9-15 with a 4.28 ERA for the Padres, but had a 9.3 K/9 which is the second highest among free agent pitchers. Kennedy is a workhorse, as he's averaged nearly 196 innings every year since 2010.

Even without Kennedy, the Padres have James Shields (if he's not traded this winter), Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner at the top of their rotation but don't really have the back end figured out. It would seem that Kennedy isn't going to return to 2011 form at age 31, but there have been drastic turnarounds before.

Kennedy will likely have to wait a fair amount of time this winter before a team comes calling, as pitchers like David Price, Zack Greinke, and Johnny Cueto will be the most sought after. Even after the top tier starters go off the board, guys like Jordan Zimmermann, Mike Leake, and Scott Kazmir might still be available.

With the vast number of pitchers that are free agents this winter, teams are going to have quite a lot of names to sift through, and unfortunately for Kennedy, that could mean he's one of the last to be picked. However with a solid strikeout rate, and a low walk rate, there will undoubtedly be a pitching coach, or front office that thinks with a small adjustment, Kennedy can be above average again.