This article is part two-of-two in my "Players to Consider for Arizona" series, complementing last week's Position Players to Consider piece.
Kennedy, who is due for arbitration this year, proved himself the ace of the Diamondbacks staff in 2011, and will likely finish second to Dodgers phenom, Clayton Kershaw, in the NL Cy Young race. Kennedy is a phenomenal pitcher the Diamondbacks cannot afford to let go, and they are therefore at the mercy of Kennedy's agent, the venerable Scott Boras.
Earning a paltry sum of $423,000 in 2011, no price is presumably too high for this young stud.
In addition to keeping Kennedy, here are a few key pitchers in MLB that the Diamondbacks should and should not consider.
Name: C.C. Sabathia
2011 Salary: $23 million
2011 Stats: 19-8, 3.00 ERA, 230 K, 1.23 WHIP
Sabathia has been a beast for the New York Yankees, compiling 19 wins over 33 games pitched in 2011. He can work out of tough jams, striking out opponents or inducing the double play ball, seemingly at will. Sabathia would be a beneficial addition to any staff.
He has earned $23 million for the past few seasons, and is under contract with New York to earn $23 million annually through 2015. However, Sabathia may opt out of his contract this offseason, allowing him to pursue other, more lucrative options.
At $23 million, which would need to increase substantially to lure him away from New York, Sabathia is simply not worth Arizona's money. The Diamondbacks should pass on Sabathia.
According to Baseball Player Salaries, Sabathia is worth it for many teams, just not for Arizona.
Name: Brad Penny
2011 Salary: $3 million
2011 Stats: 11-11, 5.30 ERA, 74 K, 1.56 WHIP
Brad Penny has been underwhelming for several years now, and 2011 was no different. With a .500 win-loss record and a 5.30 ERA, Penny is clearly not a pitcher Arizona needs right now.
He earned $3 million in 2011, coming off a 2010 season in which he took home $7.5 million. Penny is on his way down, and the Diamondbacks should not acquire his arm, even if his asking price were to drop to the league minimum of $400,000. There are better players the Diamondbacks could place on their 25-man roster.
Name: Mark Buehrle
2011 Salary: $14 million
2011 Stats: 13-9, 3.59 ERA, 109 K, 1.30 WHIP
Buehrle has had a career of success in Chicago, and is now a free agent. With 13 wins over 31 games pitched, Buehrle puts his team in position to win ballgames, and should be popular among GMs looking to acquire starting pitching this offseason.
However, in earning $14 million last season, Buehrle is fairly expensive, and would not bolster the Diamondbacks staff significantly enough to justify spending that much money. With the Diamondbacks in prime position to retain Kennedy and their other star performers, Buehrle is not vital to Arizona's plans to repeat as NL West champs.
According to Baseball Player Salaries, Buehrle is worth it, if you have the money to spend. For Arizona however, holding onto their $14,000,000+ might be a better long-term decision.
Name: C.J. Wilson
2011 Salary: $7.05 million
2011 Stats: 16-7, 2.94 ERA, 206 K, 1.19 WHIP
Thrust into the national spotlight during his 2011 season and the Rangers' run to the 2011 World Series, Wilson has proven himself to be a valuable pitcher as he heads into free agency this offseason.
With a dominant 16-7 record and 2.94 ERA, Wilson just may be an investment worth making for Arizona. Though his asking price will undoubtedly climb this offseason, the Diamondbacks should consider Wilson's arm to complement their rotation.
According to Baseball Player Salaries, Wilson is very valuable. Though the Diamondbacks should consider him, they should keep money in mind and only make an offer if the price is right.
Name: Freddy Garcia
2011 Salary: $1.5 million
2011 Stats: 12-8, 3.62 ERA, 96 K, 1.34 WHIP
Though New York's Sabathia is far out of Arizona's price range, Yankees starter Freddy Garcia may just be what the doctor ordered.
After compiling a winning record of 12-8, with an ERA of 3.62, Garcia might look like an average pitcher on paper, but looks can be deceiving. After the All-Star break, Garcia earned seven wins to only two losses, showing some strong potential heading into the 2011-12 offseason.
Paid $1.5 million in 2011, Garcia could be a huge bargain for Arizona, even if his asking price increases by a few million. Garcia would still be worth it at $4 million to $5 million for a one-year deal.
According to Baseball Player Salaries, Garcia is a total stud, producing mightily for New York in 2011 at a discount price.
Name: Micah Owings
2010 Salary: $440,000
2011 Stats: 8-0, 3.57 ERA, 44 K, 1.25 WHIP
On May 21, 2011, Owings was recalled from AAA-Reno to fill the roster spot vacated by the released Russell Branyan. The decision to bring Owings back to Arizona was a great one, as Owings appeared as a reliever and later a starter over 33 games, pitching 63.0 innings and recording eight wins, zero losses.
The Diamondbacks must find a way to retain Owings, who is due for arbitration this year. They will again have to negotiate with agent Scott Boras, but in the end, Owings could turn out to be a very vital part of the Arizona rotation or bullpen.
According to Baseball Player Salaries, Owens is worth it. The Diamondbacks should make every effort to retain him.
In conclusion, Arizona should consider acquiring one additional arm in 2012, but should not lose sight of the talent they already have.
Accordingly, Arizona's most important offseason goal is to successfully arbitrate and retain Ian Kennedy. His 2011 performance was undeniably Cy Young-like and was a pitching anchor for the 2011 Diamondbacks team.
Name: Ian Kennedy
2011 Salary: $423,000
2011 Stats: 21-4, 2.88 ERA, 198 K, 1.09 WHIP
According to Baseball Player Salaries, Kennedy is a total stud. The Diamondbacks need to do everything in their power to keep him for years to come.