TBOH Round Table, Pt. 2: Kyle Kendrick and the World of Tomorrow


We join our regularly scheduled round table, alrteady in progress:

Ben Horrow: Saw an interesting tweet from Paul Boye, I’m sure you know him. Concerned Kyle Kendrick’s contract. He’s got one year of arbitration left, then he’s a FA. What do the Phillies do? Thoughts?

Justin Klugh: Kendrick’s a great example of what can happen when you’re a #5 starter who is suddenly surrounded by the greatest pitchers in the universe. He has crawled out of a hole and laid there, panting and exhausted for a while, but now he’s gotten to his feet and I think scraping against his ceiling. It depends; they could get something for KK, but what do they need (probably a lot) and who is available?

Then again, if this is Halladay’s last year being poked and prodded by Phillies blogs, we may rather keep the pitcher.

Apr 26, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick (38) reacts following the last out against the New York Mets during the ninth inning of a MLB game at Citi Field. Kendrick threw a three-hit shutout. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Horrow:  Okay, I love the idea that pitchers learn from each other, but unless you can prove to me with absolute certainty that Halladay, Lee, Hamels, or even Oswalt actually helped KK change something, then I’m very skeptical as to the “influence”.

From my experience as a pitcher, I listened to everything other pitchers said, but almost never incorporated anything they said into my own repertoire. It could be true in KK’s case, but honestly I need more than a quote where he complements one of the aces.

I said this to John. I think Kendrick cannot be treated as anything more than a #4, that’s as good as it’ll probably get throughout his career. He might deserve at the absolute most a Blanton-like contract, but I wouldn’t go higher than $21-24 million in total.

I honestly think, btw, that catchers have far more influence on a pitcher’s development than other pitchers. I think that while pitchers respect each other, they take more advice from catchers and pitching coaches.

I reserve the right to be wrong on this, and in no way am I saying it’s an absolute, but it’s my belief.

John Stolnis:  If Kendrick pitches to a 3.50-3.75 ERA this year, that’s better than anything Blanton ever game them. He should get at least Blanton money if that happens.

That said, I’m still not sure I’d pay it.

Ben Horrow:  I think your gut is telling here. First, ERA should never be the only determiner of anything. Second, while 3.50-3.75 is very good, especially given Kendrick’s history, the major determiner of a contract should be overall past production and potential.

Kendrick may have turned the corner, but his past stats and performance still loom large. Pitchers can revert, and if another team is willing to sign him to an engorged salary in free agency, I’d rather the Phillies let him walk. That being said, if the Phillies are the team to sign him to his next contract, it HAS to be an extension prior to free agency, if not, it probably won’t be worth it.

Ethan Seidel:  But with Fox bidding on the Phillies TV rights, do we really need to worry about how much Kendrick gets paid?

Ben Horrow: I hope you’re kidding, but just in case you aren’t:

You’re telling me that just because we might be rich means we should be stupid? Apply that logic to every other aspect of life, see how it turns out.

Money is great, it’s fantastic to have an abundance of it, but as the Yankees have shown us, spending it wisely, even if you spend a lot of it, is far, far, far more important than just spending it because you can.

We have been talking a lot about Ryan Howard. His contract is probably, maybe not but has to be close to, the worst in baseball. Even if the Phillies had a $2 billion payroll, no sane person would knowingly advise the Phillies to sign him to that type of contract.

When it comes to money, smart ALWAYS, I’ll repeat it, ALWAYS wins. Just because we love the idea of being frivolous, doesn’t mean it’s the way to go.

March 7, 2013; Clearwater, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick (38) smiles against the Minnesota Twins at Bright House Networks Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Ethan Seidel:  Agreed. Howard’s contract is the frivolous spending equivalent of taking your bosses black card to AC… no good can come of it, plus you can save the gas and make the same mistakes in Philly.

Sorry, got on a gambling tangent. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to see Kendrick get a contract with an AAV of 10 million, I just hope it’s not from the Phillies.

Ben Horrow:  No need to apologize, also, the analogy of bringing your boss’s credit card to AC made me laugh, and crave the tables.

Alex Christy:  Aren’t there quotes out there about how Kendrick learned how to manage the game and throw new/better pitches from the likes of Roy and Dubee? Just because you can’t quantify it doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

I found this after clicking on one article from last year:

"“The last two years, Kendrick took on the job of reporter and closely eyed the way Roy Halladay worked out in spring training and how he prepares in the four days between his starts. Kendrick has since modeled his routine after the two-time Cy Young award winner.“Gone are the days when Kendrick rushes through a side session or skips a scheduled long toss. He has a schedule and sticks to it.”“‘He’s become much more professional about his preparation and his attention to detail,’ Dubee said.  ‘For a while it was battle [with long toss]; he was very sloppy in it and it led over into his delivery on the mound.'”"

Aug 19, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick (38) pitches in the rain against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Horrow:  Wasn’t specifically talking about quantifying things. I was speaking more towards “Halladay (or Lee or Hamels) showed me a new grip for the changeup, or showed me this new exercise during long-toss” and then we see the noticeable improvement over a legitimate span of time, due to that change, and not just overall experience.

My main point was that we as fans put WAY too much into the idea of pitchers helping each other. I see it more and more as a go to amongst pundits and analysts. Just because they share a rotation or roster spot doesn’t imply anything.

I’m happy Kendrick learned from a guy like Halladay. I was saying that I’m generally skeptical of such things, and I remain skeptical. Still, thanks for that because it definitely shifts my knowledge of Kendrick as a pitcher.

Justin Klugh:  Now I’m lost somewhere in the middle. Why don’t we go out with a bang. Finish this sentence with one word/term:

Kyle Kendrick will be the Phillies’ __________ of the future.

John Stolnis: “Coin flip.”

Ethan Seidel:  “Overpaid pitcher.”

Alex Christy:  “Lakewood Blueclaws Pitching Coach.” They probably won’t be the Lakewood Blueclaws by then, though.  “Egg Harbor Township Fightin’ Yolks Pitching Coach.”

Ben Horrow:  [leaves]

Justin Klugh:  “Fake umpire who rips his pants off between innings and dances with the Phanatic.”