As the regular season winds down to an end, the Philadelphia Phillies have a lot to think about regarding the composition of their team next year. And perhaps surprisingly to most, one of the biggest areas of concern is the starting staff.
Beyond Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, there is a good deal of uncertainty for the rotation and that includes Kyle Kendrick, who is arbitration eligible. If Ruben Amaro Jr. is to be believed, he will be a member of the 2014 starting pitching staff.
Unfortunately, it is a huge mistake if this happens.
2013 did open a lot of eyes to the Phillies’ pitching corps and in addition, it exposed the holes that many didn’t want to believe existed. After all, Philadelphia had stacked their farm system with a host of young and talented arms. Concerns about the rotation simply weren’t supposed to exist.
But the fact is that Jonathan Pettibone is an average pitcher at best, Ethan Martin belongs in the bullpen, Roy Halladay ‘s best years are behind him, Kendrick is still Kendrick and Jesse Biddle may not be as major-league ready as was initially thought.
Essentially, the Phillies learned that their rotation isn’t as much of a sure thing as it was supposed to be.
The team did sign Cuban defector, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, and he is expected to fit right into the rotation as the third or fourth starter. This is a huge risk however, considering Gonzalez’s injury history and the fact that he has yet to throw a pitch in this country’s professional baseball system.
Permitting that Gonzalez does get and keep a spot in the rotation, that leaves two other open spots. Pettibone will probably get one of them with a chance to prove that he can rebound from a decent season ended by injury. That leaves just the one spot and as it turns out, it looks like it is going to Kendrick.
The only problem here though is that Kendrick shouldn’t get it. After starting the season off strong, Kendrick, the man who has nine lives when it comes to this team, reverted back to his old ways. He finished the season with a 10-13 record and a 4.70 ERA. To put that into perspective, his career ERA is 4.38.
Maybe it is just me, but I’d much rather see Biddle post a 4.70 ERA than Kendrick. The now 29-year-old has had his chance and has failed to make it stick. I’d welcome keeping him in the bullpen, but even Martin seems to have settled into a long relief there nicely. Honestly, I see no reason why the Phillies would even want to re-sign Kendrick.
Marilee Gallagher is a baseball writer for RantSports.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MGallagher17 like her page on Facebook, or join her network on Google.