Kennedy made $6.1 million last season after going 13-13 with a 3.63 ERA. Kennedy won his final three starts of 2014 and pitched 201 innings, the third-most of his career.
The Rangers would like to acquire pitching that doesn't cost too much, and Kennedy, who is arbitration eligible, could make a projected salary of $10.3 million in 2015, according to Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors. The Rangers would like to bolster the middle of their rotation behind staff ace Yu Darvish and No. 2 starter Derek Holland.
Colby Lewis is expected to solidify the back end of the rotation if and when he signs a free-agent contract. Whomever the Rangers sign this offseason, the objective is to have that pitcher have at least one year remaining on his contract.
Kennedy fits into what the Rangers want to do because he doesn't have a huge financial obligation after 2015.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels said his relationship with current Padres GM A.J. Preller, a former Rangers assistant GM, could help in future dealings.
The Rangers reportedly also have interest in San Diego pitchers Tyson Ross (31 starts) and Andrew Cashner (19 starts). There is casual interest in free agent Josh Johnson, who missed the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.