Lack of pitching depth could help Kendrick stay

Lack of pitching depth could help Kendrick stay

Phightin' Words: Can the Phillies compete in 2014?

September 27, 2013, 8:15 pm
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Kyle Kendrick had a 6.45 ERA over his final 14 starts of this season. (USA Today Images)

ATLANTA -- Kyle Kendrick tested his shoulder in a light throwing session Friday afternoon.

“It felt good,” said the right-hander, who was shut down with inflammation in the shoulder last week. “The [rehab] program is working.”

Kendrick said he would be ready to start his regular offseason throwing program in November.

The question remains: Will he be a Phillie beyond the Dec. 2 deadline for tendering contracts to arbitration eligible players?

Manager Ryne Sandberg may have unwittingly offered a clue on Kendrick’s future Friday when he spoke about next season’s pitching staff.

“We have a good place to start with (Cliff) Lee and (Cole) Hamels,” he said. “We’ll have KK in the mix and then some decisions will have to be made from there.”

Roy Halladay’s future with the club is one of the decisions that the Phils must make. And despite what Sandberg said, whether to tender Kendrick a contract -- he’s in line for a raise from the $4.5 million he made this season -- or let him walk is another decision that management must make. Still, it was interesting to hear Sandberg speak like Kendrick would be back. Maybe he knows something the rest of us don’t.

Kendrick struggled mightily in his final 14 starts of the season. He had a 6.45 ERA over that span. In his first 16 starts, he had a 3.46 ERA. He finished last season with a 3.20 ERA in his final 12 starts. The shoulder problem might have affected his performance in the second half of this season.

If Kendrick’s pockets of success aren’t enough to convince management to retain him, then the lack of starting pitching depth in the system might be. The Phillies have exhausted their supply of ready starting pitching in this final week of the season. By the end of the seven-game trip, the Phillies will have started a reliever three times.

Ethan Martin, who has recently been pitching out of the bullpen, is likely to plug Saturday’s start in place of Halladay. Zach Miner will make his third fill-in start in the season finale on Sunday.

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