The Philadelphia Phillies have four of their five starting pitchers set for 2013 – Roy Halladay has at least one year remaining on his contract, Cliff Lee has three more years left, Cole Hamels was just inked to a brand-new six-year deal, and Vance Worley won’t even hit arbitration for several more seasons.
The fifth spot is up for grabs, though. The team traded away Joe Blanton to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and while there’s always a chance they could bring him back for next year, it’s highly unlikely. Five years is enough for a mediocre pitcher, even if Blanton was pitching very well in his last several starts in Philly.
The team has a slew of talented prospects at the middle level of the minor leagues, but it would be asking a lot for anyone to make the jump to the rotation by next year awhile. The team will likely have to address their fifth spot through free agency if they don’t go internally.
This may be the cheap option that the team chooses to do simply because he’s already here so why not?
Kyle Kendrick was signed to a two-year deal before the 2012 season at $7.5 million, and he’s contributed as both a starter and a reliever during his major league career. Well, if you call a 4.43 career ERA, 1.394 WHIP, and 1.68 strikeout rate “contributing.”
Kendrick is just 5-9 with a 4.53 ERA this year through 103.1 innings. He’s strictly a ground ball pitcher who pitches to contact and tries to get hitters to hit the ball rather than overpowering them with upper nineties stuff. He’s boring, he’s inconsistent, and I personally am tired of seeing him in Philly.
The Phillies organization must have some grudge against Tyler Cloyd. He’s a combined 15-1 with a 2.16 ERA in 24 starts at both the Double-A and Triple-A level this year – the majority of them at the Triple-A level. He’s displaying excellent control (2.2 BB/9), he doesn’t give up a high percentage of hits, and he keeps his home runs down.
Cloyd doesn’t throw very fast or possess strong secondary pitches, and he’s already 25 years old, so maybe the team doesn’t think he will amount to much in the major leagues. But the fact that they’re continuing to let Vance Worley pitch when he has bone spurs in his elbow is ridiculous. Call up Cloyd and find out what he can do.
I wouldn’t mind going with a guy like Erik Bedard for next year to see what he can do on a one or two-year deal.
Bedard is 7-12 with a 4.56 ERA on a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Those aren’t great numbers but he has a high strikeout rate and he’s a lefty, and he is a former Cy Young candidate (fifth in 2007) who has struck out as many as 221 batters in a season.
Bartolo Colon will be 40 years old by next season and I don’t know how much longer he can be expected to contribute at the major league level.
He’s thriving this year though on a one-year deal, as he’s 9-9 with a 3.55 ERA and a 3.83 strikeout to walk ratio for the surprisingly successful Oakland Athletics. Colon will be a free agent again after the season. He’s a viable candidate for a year or so at $2-3 million.
Kevin Correia is just 57-61 with a 4.61 ERA in his career which puts him on the path of a guy like Kendrick. He’s actually a remarkably similar pitcher, as he strikes out a ridiculously low percentage of hitters, he pitches to contact, and he doesn’t have a lot of success.
Correia was an All-Star last year but don’t be fooled by that: He was just 12-11 on the year with a 4.79 ERA and his 10.2 hit rate and 4.5 strikeout rate aren’t particularly impressive.
The potential has always been there for Francisco Liriano but he has never come close to the kind of season he had in 2006 when he was 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA.
Liriano was finally shipped off to the Chicago White Sox this past offseason, and he’s not worth much more than a two-year deal or so. Liriano is 3-10 with a 5.31 ERA this season, but he strikes out a lot of batters, and he doesn’t give up a lot of hits. Pitching with aces like Halladay and Lee might make Liriano the kind of pitcher he always could have been. He’ll almost assuredly learn a cutter and I would like to see him pitching in the National League where he doesn’t have to face the DH.
Jason Marquis is really nothing more than a one-year stopgap. He is a former All-Star who has won over 100 games in his major league career, but he did pitch so poorly for the Minnesota Twins earlier this year (8.47 ERA in seven starts) that he was released.
Marquis has settled down for the San Diego Padres (in their pitching park though). He’s 6-7 with a 4.08 ERA which is maybe what you would expect from a fifth starter.
Baseball hasn’t been too kind to Carl Pavano recently. He’s 36 years old now and after leading the AL in hits allowed (262) last year, he’s now 2-5 with a 6.00 ERA in 11 starts in 2012.
Pavano doesn’t strike out a lot of hitters at all but he also displays impeccable control (just 1.1 BB/9) this year.
Back in the day, Chris Young led the National League in fewest hits allowed per nine innings for consecutive seasons. Young is 3-6 with a 4.50 ERA in 13 starts this season, and he’s about what you would get from a fifth starter.
Young won’t get more than a one or two year deal in free agency but he’s an ok option if you want an ok guy.