Phillies give Kyle Kendrick two years, but why?

The Phillies gave starter Kyle Kendrick a two years, $7.5 million deal to buy out his next two arbitration years. Kendrick agreed to a one year, $3.585 million deal last month that would cover his 2012 season. He’s not a particularly great pitcher, and I actually figured he’d be a nontender candidate in the coming offseason. So why did Phillies GM Ruben Amaro feel the need to give Kendrick two guaranteed years?

First off, let’s get one thing out of the way here: this isn’t about money. $7.5 million over two years is chump change for Philadelphia, who have already sold 3.1 million tickets for games at Citizens Bank Park this season. Getting that fallacy out of the way, why would they want to lock up a guy like Kendrick for two years? This wasn’t a move to keep him off the market, as he’s still got a year of arbitration left in 2014 as a super two. This wasn’t a move to lock up a critical piece of the team, as his role on the 2012 Phillies appears to be that of a long reliever or a spot starter.

Paying Kendrick $7.5 million over two years is expecting about a win a season (on the lower end, actually). But….can he actually do that? Over his five year career, Kendrick has been worth just 2.3 fWAR in just shy of 600 innings. Do some quick math, and you’re getting about 0.6 fWAR for 150 innings of work. That’s really not the makeup of a valuable pitcher. There were no less than 279 pitchers in baseball that had a fWAR level of 0.6 last season. Kendrick really isn’t an effective pitcher at all. His career FIP is 4.95, and his career strikeout rate is 4.14. 

Here’s a list of all players in 2011 who had a FIP higher than their strikeout rate.

Anthony Vazquez
Brian Matusz
Scott Proctor
Armando Galarraga
Andy Sonnanstine
Alex White
Barry Enright
Ryan Franklin
Kyle Wieland
Sean O’Sullivan

You get the picture. There aren’t really any great pitchers here, mostly young guys who haven’t put it together or veterans who are out of juice. Kendrick really doesn’t fit into either category, as a 27 year-old with five years experience.

For a team that could be losing Cole Hamels this offseason, it’s downright puzzling for Amaro to give Kendrick an extension while neglecting one of his three aces. I just don’t get this one at all.

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About Joe Lucia

I'm the managing editor of Awful Announcing and the news editor of The Comeback. I also made The Outside Corner a thing for six seasons.