The Phillies have signed one of their long-time pitchers to a contract extension on Sunday morning.
It isn’t the one you were hoping for.
In an apparent attempt to flummox and confuse every Phillies fan in this great nation, the Phils have announced they signed Kyle Kendrick to a two-year, $7.5 million deal.
And yes, those are American dollars, not pesos.
Kendrick performed well last year as a spot-starter/bullpen piece, going 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.221 WHIP. His K/9 were right around his career average at 4.6, while his hits/9 was a career low at 8.6. Certainly, it was the best year of Kendrick’s career, in a seemingly a perfect role for the right-hander.
Kendrick is a Super 2 player, which means this deal will still allow him to be arbitration eligible in 2014.
So, the obvious question is, why on earth would Ruben Amaro Jr. commit this kind of money to a player like Kendrick, who is a nice piece to the puzzle, but hardly somebody to get worked up about. The deal announced on Sunday replaces the one-year $3.585 million deal signed by Kendrick in order to avoid arbitration a couple months ago, making the average annual value of his new deal $3.75 million for this year and next.
Why commit to Kendrick for 2013 as well? There are a couple possible reasons.
First is that it gives the Phillies cost certainty as they try to budget for next year. They could have estimated as to what type of raise Kendrick would have received in arbitration next year, but there is still some uncertainty in doing that. Second is that this may make Kendrick more viable as a trade chip, if other teams know what kind of financial commitment they’d be looking at.
In reality, the new Kendrick deal probably has no bearing on anything having to do with the Hamels negotations, and if anything allows the Phils to have a better idea of how much money they’ll have to play with in 2013.
Still, it seems as though, with this deal, Amaro and the Phillies were just assuming Kendrick would be back next year, which I don’t think anyone else who follows the Phillies thought was even remotely a slam dunk.
In the end, Kendrick is a valuable pitcher, provided he fills the role he is currently filling. Anything more than that is a gross misuse of his “talents.” Signing him to a guaranteed 2013 deal now just doesn’t seem like it was a necessary thing to do.