Two years ago it was hard to imagine Arizona giving up Ian Kennedy, who was enjoying a 21-4 season for the playoff bound D-Backs. At age 26 and under team control, he was an asset all MLB teams covet.
Fast forward to 2013, and Arizona is 7-14 in Kennedy's 21 starts and he has only 3 wins all year. Patrick Corbin is now the ace of the staff and Wade Miley is having a strong season as well. at 54-52 and 3.5 games behind LA, the D-Backs are at a point now where trading Kennedy makes sense.
With Corbin and Miley heading the rotation and injured starters Brandon McCarthy and Trevor Cahill due to return to action very soon, Kennedy became expendable. He still has some value at age 28 and an affordable salary for a club needing a starter, but the D-Backs really needed a lefty reliever and are comfortable with young starters Tyler Skaggs and Randall Delgado filling the #5 starter role.
With lefty reliever Matt Reynolds injured since June and fellow lefty Tony Sipp giving up homers in two of his last 3 outings, getting a premier lefty like Joe Thatcher will help Arizona down the stretch. Trying to gun down the red hot Dodgers will take a strong lefty to get Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier out. Thatcher has a 2.10 ERA in 50 games this year, so the D-Backs get a lefty reliever to help out righties Brad Ziegler, Will Harris, Heath Bell, Josh Collmenter, and JJ Putz.
San Diego gets Kennedy to help out a rotation that has been underwhelming all year. Eric Stults has been a pleasant surprise and Andrew Cashner is a promising youg starter, but Edison Volquez and Jason Marquis have been inconsistent. Kennedy will give the Pads some needed depth and experience in their rotation.
The D-Backs are also getting a compensatory draft pick and San Diego's AA closer in Matt Stites. Stites has 14 saves and a 2.08 ERA for the San Antonio Missions and could be the D-Backs closer of the future.
Arizona has 2 quality starters coming back soon and 2 young capable starters to fill the rotations back -end, so dealing the struggling Kennedy made sense while he still has value. Plus, getting a premier lefty reliever was a necessity for Arizona as they make a run at the division this fall. The addition of Stites and the draft pick are a plus too.
San Diego sees a young starter just 2 years removed from finishing 4th in Cy Young voting as a future front line starter as Kennedy is still just 28. The Pads also traded from a strength as they have one of the leagues best bullpens and could afford to part with the 31 year old Thatcher.
Will it be enough for Arizona to make a legit run at LA? Stay tuned...