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Kennedy Intrigued by Mets, Favor Not Returned

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The New York media machine is already in mid-offseason form, and Mark Hale of the Post gets the ball rolling with his column this morning, Kennedy Intrigued by Mets. pj mentioned this article in another thread:

Kennedy, one of the elite options among free-agent second basemen this winter, has spent the last seven seasons with the Angels. He filed for free agency on Sunday, however, and yesterday his agent, Paul Cohen, said he has "definite interest" in the Mets.

This past year Kennedy hit .273 with four homers, 55 RBIs, 16 steals and a .334 on-base percentage for the Angels. Kennedy, who turns 31 in January, has fared well in the playoffs (he was the ALCS MVP in 2002 and has hit .308 in 25 career postseason games) and although he committed nine errors this year (tied for seventh among AL second basemen), he had the fewest among regular AL second basemen in 2005 (five).

emphasis (bold) is mine

Calling Kennedy an "elite" anything is laughable. Kennedy will turn 31 in January and is a .280/.332/.398 career hitter and has a 72% stolen base success rate (48/171) as a big-leaguer. Defensively, Kennedy ranked 11th in the 2006 Scouting Report, By the Fans, For the Fans. It's hard to imagine that he would be a better option than Ray Durham or a Jose Valentin/Rich Aurilia platoon.

Kennedy is a slappy singles hitter with little power and below-average plate discipline. He doesn't strike out a lot (72 in 139 games in 2006). He's kind of a speedy Paul Lo Duca at second base, and you can make the argument that the Mets could have used another one of those during the postseason this year. Kennedy made $3.4 million this year and it's not clear if he is looking for a pay raise (probability: good).

His agent says he has "definite interest" in the Mets, though I suspect you'll hear some variant of that line from the representatives of every free agent this offseason.

UPDATE [2:00pm]: Rev Halofan, my SBNation compadre over at Halos Heaven, was kind enough to provide us with an idea of what the lucky team that signs Kennedy will wind up with:

Adam Kennedy has an uppercut swing that will break the heart of any by-the-book scout or toolsy purist. He doesn't drive the ball so much as bitch-slap it down the line or (infrequently) toward the gap. His few homeruns are sweet-spot contact, i.e., pure luck on grooved pitches. He has devolved into a singles hitter, although one who will go First-to-Third for you and is particularly good at the hard slide into 2nd base to break up a double play. If he bats .300 again in a full season I?d be shocked, but I wouldn?t expect him to drop down below .260 ? he is that sort of twilight gamer who soothes the fans? hope by producing just enough that you?d swear he was consistent. Few fans give up on him. They love his grit and he doesn?t put asses in seats as much as keep them there when the season starts to untether from expectations.

He used to put together a hot month at two points in the season batting nearly .400 for most of each, while being a cool Mendoza-like plate presence the rest of the season. The last two years he seems to have five or six hot weeks broken up by the arctic-like results. He is unselfish when it comes to the productive out, the bunt, the batters box mind-game to get the defense to reveal its tendencies. In the clubhouse, he has become quite the red-ass and will fearlessly get in the face of any player who does not toe the team line.

His defense has lost a step but he is above league average in range and great on the throw, the soft toss, the reflexive turn-and-tag, the muscle memory Nureyev one-eighty that doesn?t make a web-gem because it occurs at midnight eastern but 40,000 fans on the west coast give it a standing ovation. If your pitching staff has a lot of pitch-to-contact types who induce groundballs to Double-Play out the hits, Adam Kennedy is far more valuable to your team.

There you have it.