The baseball season ended for the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday afternoon, but the team already is contemplating making their first offseason mistake: offering a contract to pitcher Kyle Kendrick.
If this were the financial market instead of the business of baseball, Kendrick’s stock can only be generously described at plummeting. His fine first half of the season was followed by a nightmarish second half, and that should have been all the club needed to give him his walking papers. Kendrick posted a 6.49 ERA after July 1 after a 3.59 ERA in his first 17 starts.
If those numbers were reversed and Kendrick had a better second half than first, the Phillies might have a reason to extend him, but the second half revealed only how inconsistent and untrustworthy his numbers are. Yet, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said the club has every intention of offering him a contract.
That move might be due to the Phillies running out of pitchers at the end of the season. Three times in the final month, the Phillies had to use the bullpen for a combined start because they ran out of available starters due to injuries.
In 2012, Kendrick signed a two-year contract worth $7.5 million. He was paid (although did not earn) $4.5 million of that contract this year. He could make upward of $8 million in arbitration, although his stats this year would bring him in at the low end.
Kendrick would just be another body, but the Phillies have to think about getting a better body rather than just keeping Kendrick around as an emergency arm. The money would be better spent on a free agent pitcher outside the organization, and that’s where the Phils should look first.