The Kansas City Royals signed right-handed pitcher Ian Kennedy to a five-year, $70-million contract — the largest contract for a pitcher in team history — on Jan. 29, 2016.
Here are five things to know:
1. Sneaky good first year with the Royals
After signing the largest contract for a pitcher in Royals history (five years, $70 million), Kennedy delivered with the second-best season of his career in 2016. He went 11-11 with a 3.68 ERA and a WAR (wins above replacement) of 4.0.
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2. He’s a former 20-game winner
The only season that topped his 2016 campaign came in 2011 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He went 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 222 innings. He finished fourth in the National League Cy Young Award voting.
3. He’s Southern Cal all the way
Kennedy starred at La Quinta High School in Huntington Beach, Calif., before playing at USC. In 2005, he became the eighth Trojan to be named Pac-10 pitcher of the year. The Yankees drafted him 21st overall the following year.
4. Have arm, will travel
The 2017 season was his 11th in the big leagues. He’s played with the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Padres and Royals, and he’s been twice traded. Kennedy was part of the 2009 three-team trade that sent Max Scherzer to the Tigers.
5. Happily married to a fellow USC athlete
The fall of 2007 was a crazy time for Ian Kennedy and Allison Jaskowiak. They got married on Oct. 6, 2007, in Kirkwood, Mo. But Ian’s Yankees were in the MLB playoffs and Allison was preparing to play for the USC women’s basketball team. They reportedly walked down the aisle to “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” after reciting their vows. The couple have four daughters.