About two months ago, Kyle Kendrick’s pitching made the Philadelphia Phillies signing him a no-brainer.
Two months later, Kendrick’s performance is making the argument to get rid of him just as compelling. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is going to have a lot of tough decisions to make at the end of the season, but this should not be one of them.
No one has made that decision easier than Kendrick himself. While the 10-8 record looks good on paper, he is the poster child for inconsistency and cannot be trusted. When you can’t trust an employee, you’ve got to get rid of him. Through Kendrick’s first 13 starts, he had a 3.22 ERA. Since the second week of June, he’s been languishing with a 6.09 ERA over his last 10 starts.
In total, a 10-8 record and 4.36 ERA is pretty decent, but considering the Phillies never know what Kendrick is going to show up on any given night, it’s unacceptable. Even though Kendrick has won two of his last three decisions, one of the wins came by a 9-8 score and the other by a 13-8 score.
Kendrick made $4.5 million this season in his third year of arbitration. They can either sign him to a multi-year extension, sign him for one year or let him go. Amaro should settle for the third option.
On the open market, a pitcher like Kendrick might be able to land a spot as a fourth or fifth starter, but the Phillies can build a decent rotation around Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, recent Cuban signee Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and John Lannan. A promising Triple-A pitcher like Ethan Martin or Adam Morgan would probably give the Phillies at least what Kendrick can, and maybe more, at close to the major-league minimum of $490,000.
That would free up money for where Amaro really needs it — the back end of the bullpen. For that, he should send Kendrick a thank you note with a going-away gift.