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Royals sign Ian Kennedy to 5-year, $70 million deal

The right-hander will replace Johnny Cueto in the Royals' rotation going forward.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals are in agreement with right-hander Ian Kennedy on a 5-year, $70 million contract, according to a report from MLB Network's Jon HeymanESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports that Kennedy will receive an opt-out after two seasons, continuing a trend of similar contracts for free-agent pitchers this winter.

Kennedy is the second major free-agent signing of the month for the Royals, who also locked up star outfielder Alex Gordon on a 4-year, $72 million deal. Kennedy has also been linked to the Nationals, Astros and Rockies in recent reports, though Kansas City has been considered a few days while considering both Kennedy and Yovani Gallardo.

Kennedy slots into a new-look Royals' rotation alongside Edinson Volquez, Yordano Ventura, Kris Medlen and Chris Young, filling the hole left by Johnny Cueto's departure for the Giants. He is the third free-agent pitcher to sign a deal in the 5-year, $70-80 million ranger this winter, joining Wei-Yin Chen (Marlins) and Mike Leake (Cardinals).

Kennedy struggled to a 9-15 record and 4.28 ERA last season with the Padres, but is the owner of a lifetime 3.98 ERA in 206 major-league appearances (204 starts) with the Yankees (2007-09), Diamondbacks (2010-13) and Padres (2013-15). In Kansas City, he will be reunited with pitching coach Dave Eiland, who was his minor-league instructor and major-league pitching coach in the Yankees' organization.