I find it ironic, given that the Rays wanted to sign Kennedy prior to acquiring Akinori Iwamura. Kennedy instead signed with the Cardinals and have enjoyed -- or perhaps not enjoyed -- one subpar and one decent season.
Kennedy is a really good defender with a poor bat. Seriously, his bat goes dumpster diving for food. Over the last three seasons, here are Kennedy's averages using UZR and wRAA:
Kennedy's been worth ~5 runs over the past three years per +/-, and his breakdown are as follows:
That makes him far superior to Iwamura going to his right, but don't take my word for it, here's Aki's numbers from last year:
Obviously I'd rather use a larger sample size for Iwamura, but that's what we have to work with. Kennedy is a superior defender in most aspects, but his bat is poor nowadays. If he can somehow regain the offensive prowess from years past and combine it with stellar defense, he would be an extremely nice coup.
On a minor league deal there's absolutely nothing to lose and depth to gain. Kennedy's not quite the player he was in the early part of this decade, but he's far superior to Ray Olmedo and Elliot Johnson, and could be a near average starter on some teams.Probably a 1 < x> 1.5 win player.
As for his St. Louis falling out, well, let's just file that one under "Tony LaRussa".
“We talk a lot about depth, and I think this move fits perfectly in line with that,” said Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman. “He’s a tremendous defender, he does a lot of things well, and we’re anxious to watch him play on a daily basis.”
“Right now, he’s on the outside looking in,” Friedman said of Kennedy. “I think it would take an injury [for him to make the Opening Day roster] at this point, but you never know.”
“I don’t know what happened in St. Louis,” Friedman said, “but Joe’s got a history with him and speaks extremely highly of him as a teammate and as a competitor and feels like he’ll add a lot to our group in the clubhouse.”