Kendrick was re-signed to a two-year, $7.5 million deal before the season to serve as the Phillies’ long reliever and spot starter. He excelled in this role last year, posting an 8-6 record to go with a 3.22 ERA in 114.2 innings pitched. Kendrick appeared in 34 games, making 19 relief appearances and starting 15 contests.
He has started sporadically for the Phillies over the last five seasons, beginning as a rookie in 2007 when he enjoyed a breakout season (10-4, 3.87 ERA). Kendrick struggled immensely in ’08, going 11-9 with a 5.49 ERA in 31 starts, and was subsequently left off the postseason roster. He spent most of 2009 in the minor leagues before rebounding in 2010 to go 11-10 with a 4.73 ERA in 180.2 innings as a starter.
Kendrick has one of the lowest strikeout rates in all of the major leagues, and he gets success by pitching to contact and simply hoping for ground ball outs. He keeps his walks down (2.6 career rate per nine innings), even though he strikes out just over four batters per nine innings. Kendrick has a 4.39 ERA which suggests he’s merely an adequate pitcher, and the two-year deal the Phillies gave him is certainly a stretch in terms of its fiscal value. Kendrick is a good option though as a sixth starter when one of the regular starters suffers an injury, and there’s really no one waiting in the minor leagues to take his spot.
He will get a chance on Monday to show the team that they made the right move in giving him a two-year deal worth as much as they did. It’s not as if the one start will make or break his career, but if Kendrick gives the Phillies a quality start in place of Lee, the team has to be satisfied with that.