One month after avoiding arbitration, the Phillies extended Kyle Kendrick through 2013 on Sunday, agreeing to pay the versatile right hander $7.5 million over two years. Though Kendrick is eligible for arbitration again in 2014, the agreement marks the first time the club has demonstrated a commitment to the 27 year old as he enters his sixth Major League season.
The front office is rewarding Kendrick's career year, one in which he remained effective despite bouncing between the starting rotation and bullpen as needed. They are telling Kendrick he has carved out his place on this roster, that he will be in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future.
Yet many fans still fail to recognize Kendrick's value. Maybe it's because we've become spoiled by Cy Young award winners and World Series MVP's, or some of us aren't able to erase the memory of his awful '08 campaign. Whatever it is you don't care for about Kendrick, make no mistake, he has developed into a more than serviceable pitcher for the Phillies.
He belongs on the staff.
What exactly is there not to like about Kyle Kendrick? When Roy Halladay arrived in the clubhouse, Kendrick began to mimic the superstar's workouts. Dedication. He does whatever is asked of him -- spent most of '09 in the minors, moved in and out of the bullpen, even took a joke about being traded to Japan in stride. Team player. Most importantly, he's played very well of late, going 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA in 2011.
Practically all of Kendrick's numbers were career bests -- ERA, 1.221 WHIP, 8.6 hits per nine, 1.1 home runs per nine, 4.6 strikeouts per nine. He was even better in games he started, posting a 5-4 record with a 3.16 ERA, 1.157 WHIP, 5.0 K's per nine, and a 2.71 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Obviously those aren't All-Star numbers, but almost any team in the league would have taken Kendrick as either their fourth or fifth starter last season. On the Phillies, he was the seventh option, behind Joe Blanton and Vance Worley. However, for whatever reason, every time Kendrick took the mound, you could almost hear the collective groan of the fan base.
Who else has seven Major League starting pitchers?
Such contempt for a mere role player makes no sense. It's not as if Kendrick were some vastly-overpaid underachiever. He's just a guy making the most of his rather ordinary talents, working hard to get better while helping the ball club win any way he can. That's somebody I want on my team, especially when the results back it up.
>> Phillies sign Kendrick to two-year deal [Phillies Zone]