Despite the fact that Jonathan Pettibone performed fairly decently for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2013, it looks like the right-handed pitcher will have a tough time cracking the rotation in 2014. Due to some offseason acquisitions, the Phillies now have a lot of clutter in the back of their rotation.
The Phillies signed veteran starter A.J. Burnett on Wednesday to join Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee at the top of their star-studded rotation. With the addition of Burnett, the Phillies now have Roberto Hernandez, Kyle Kendrick, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and Pettibone battling for the final two spots in the rotation. Heading into Spring Training, it would appear the favorites are Hernandez and Kendrick. Gonzalez, according to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, could begin the 2014 season in the minor leagues.
In 100.1 innings last season, Pettibone pitched to a 4.04 ERA with a 4.18 FIP. His 5.92 K/9 and 3.41 BB/9 certainly weren’t all that impressive, but he was able to induce ground balls 49.4 percent of the time. Due to his high ground ball rate, Pettibone allowed just 0.81 HR/9 in 2013.
As for his competition, Hernandez and Kendrick, I can’t really find any legitimate reason to justify Pettibone not making the rotation. Hernandez has a career 4.67 ERA in 1,100 innings, and Kendrick has a 4.38 ERA in 939.2 innings. Along with not being very good, Kendrick also has more experience out of the bullpen than either Hernandez or Pettibone. Trying to justify either Hernandez or Kendrick making the rotation over Pettibone is nearly impossible for me.
If the Phillies decide to go with the veteran options of Hernandez and/or Kendrick over Pettibone, it will be just another bad decision in a long line of bad decisions that involve favoring veterans over younger options. The Phillies have developed a reputation for doing so, in case you haven’t heard.