The Phillies and “utility pitcher” Kyle Kendrick reached a deal today to avoid arbitration. The official press release dubs it a 1-year deal worth just over $3.5 million. With the loss of Madson earlier in the week, this definitely sures up some questions in the bullpen, if that is indeed where we will see Kendrick this season. He will certainly be thrown into the conversation for the fifth spot in the rotation along with Joe Blanton, but Kendrick does have much more bullpen experience.
Last year we saw a few different pitchers thrown into that fifth spot, before Vance Worley really took hold of it. Worley looks to move up into the fourth spot with the departure of Roy Oswalt, which leaves Kendrick and Blanton to battle it out for the last spot. Either way, this adds nice depth to the Phils’ rotation and a good utility or long-relief option down the stretch.
Last year, Kendrick was 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA in 34 appearances, 15 of them being starts. These numbers don’t blow you away, but he is more than a solid option in the fifth rotation spot or as a long-reliever. He has been particularly impressive in-division against the National League East. Last year 18 appearances versus division foe, he posted a 5-2 record and a 2.14 ERA. Kyle is definitely a good piece to hold onto during the long MLB season, especially with Blanton’s recent injuries and Vance’s youth.
Kendrick is far from the most important player eligible for arbitration, however. Cole Hamels, Hunter Pence, and Wilson Valdez are also facing arbitration this off-season and not much has been said about an impending agreement. It is safe to assume that deals with be reached with Hamels and Pence, but things seem to be up in the air with Valdez. I would like to see them bring Wilson back for another year, at least. He provides a good spark off the bench and came up big in some key situations last year. He provides a more than efficient glove at any infield position and has improved his hitting while a member of the Phillies. We will keep you updated on the Phillies’ busy off-season as it progresses.
Topics: Arbitration, Charlie Manuel, Cole Hamels, Free Agency, Hunter Pence, Joe Blanton, Kyle Kendrick, MLB, National League, NL East, Philadelphia Phillies, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Madson, Vance Worley, Wilson Valdez