Ron Costello

Thursday, October 30, 2014

With Kyle We Know What We Got

Today Junior distributed a handbook to all Phillies personnel entitled, The Phillies Way. Should be a best seller. The Phillies Way of overpaying aged stars? The Phillies Way of avoiding the luxury tax and losing 89 games — two years in a row? Or how about this, The Phillies Way of giving their faithful another mediocre team?

Okay, okay, I'm only joking. I'm sure the handbook is excellent. I had to take a few shots.

Today is also the day Kyle Kendrick becomes a free agent. Let's see if The Phillies Way mentions  keeping one of their own.

He's got history with the Phillies, both good and bad. Think about what you think about...when you think about Kyle Kendrick — before we go further.

Go ahead, take a moment, I'll wait.

Okay, times up. What did you come up with? Might be, "Ah, he's all right, I guess." Yea, me too, sort of.

Here's what I came up with when I thought about Kyle Kendrick: Tough guy who'll take the ball anytime — long relief or starter. Few injuries, mostly fatigue — nothing serious. Not an old-head and stays healthy. Sometimes his sinker stays down and sometimes it gets hammered. His Phillies' record is around .500 and he has pitched for the them, what, 9 or 10 years? Now remember, I didn't look anything up. Not yet.

He's a gamer and a good athlete and overall liked by the faithful.  When the faithful talk about good Phillies' pitchers, however, he's usually overlooked. He get's paid decent but probably looking for a bundle in free agency. And unlike Chooch, he has no special sing-song when he takes the mound: Like, KYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYLLE.

If his sinker's up, he may get another type sing-song: Like, booooooooooooo.

Fair enough? Close to what you thought?

So let's take a look.

He came up with the Phillies in '07, but in '09 was sent to LV for five months, so let's give him Phillies Show Time Credit of eight years. His record is 74-68, with a 4.42 ERA, and has never pitched for another club.

He turned down a football scholarship and signed with the Phillies out of Mt. Vernon High School in Washington, so he's home grown. He was in the Phillies' rotation in the 2008 World Series. And we all know he was jerked around in '10 and '11 — starting, relieving, starting relieving...he wasn't sure which way's up.

Last season he was 10-13 with a 4.61 ERA in the 32 games he started. Nothing spectacular.

He got $7.6 million in '14 and will most likely get a two year deal close to $18 million in the marketplace. Why? Because he's a stand up guy and can be a huge inning eater.

Lookit, let's put the numbers away. Here's the thing. Most of Kendrick's losses seemed mechanical — his arm is solid. It's possible he can find himself in Philly — like the rapper Bernie Sigel, but richer and not in jail.

And, he's 30, so he's got some wiggle room.

If Hamels gets traded — trust me, he will — and Lee's elbow has seen better days — the rotation will have to be rebuilt. Jerome Williams was signed for '15, and that was good.

Williams did well in '14 — and can be long man in relief or 5th or 6th in the rotation — even though he's been partying with a lot of major league teams.

You can pretty much figure Barnett is gone — off to rehabilitate somewhere. Burnett has until Monday to notify the Phillies whether or not he'll exercise his $12.75 million option to stay. Pitching is scarce in MLB so he may opt out. I hope he does.

So write this down: Williams.

Now look at the farm, but there's not much to look at. Maybe David Buchanan, or the oft injured Jonathan Pettibone, or Ethan Martin.

All iffy. More iffy than Kendrick!

Or the marketplace, but be careful — the Phillies track record there is spotty — Adam Eaton, Freddy Garcia, Tom Gordon, Mike Adams, John Lannan, Kyle Abbott, Kevin Millwood, and A.J. Burnett,  just to name a few. Not to mention Bott and LA.

With the exception of Cliff Lee, I'd give the club a D+ on signing free agent pitchers. I wonder if that's in Junior's new handbook.

I wouldn't put Kyle Kendrick it that group — he deserves better. Me? I'd give him a two year deal — loaded with incentives — then drop him in the middle of the rotation.

Best of all, Kendrick won't push the club over the luxury tax cliff — where the Phillies, with the third highest payroll in baseball, can almost spit to.

But right now, I've got to get a copy of that handbook Junior published, The Phillies Way, to see if I'm mentioned, you know, as a blogging advisor.

Might be.

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Philly@ron-costello.com

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