New Rangers general manager Chris Young, a former teammate of Kennedy's in Kansas City, said the right-hander brings a veteran presence after playing for four teams over 14 big league seasons.
"He has to earn the spot, and he's perfectly comfortable with that," Young said Tuesday. "Ian called me right after we finalized the deal and actually thanked me for not reaching out to him. He had a lot of teams, and personal relationships throughout the game, reaching out to him, and he said actually that played into it, the fact that I didn't reach out to him personally."
Kennedy spent the past five seasons with Kansas City, where he made the transition from starter to reliever the past two years. He had his only 30 MLB saves in 2019, but was limited to one start and 14 relief appearances last season because of a left calf injury. Young and Kennedy were with the Royals together in 2016 and 2017.
In 290 starts and 79 relief appearances, Kennedy is 97-105 with a 4.13 ERA. He had a career-high 21 wins in 2011 for Arizona.
Kennedy began his big league career with the New York Yankees (2007-09), before pitching for the Diamondbacks (2010-13), San Diego (2013-15) and the Royals (2016-20).