Nov 272011
Phillies RHP Kyle Kendrick

Phillies RHP Kyle Kendrick

We recently looked at the arbitration situations of Cole Hamels and Hunter Pence.  So new we’re left with Ben Francisco, Kyle Kendrick, Wilson Valdez, John Bowker, and Scott Mathieson. It’s a good bet that at least two of these guys will be non-tendered and will become free agents. The numbers game will also come into play with each of these players.

Kendrick made the most money last year ($2.45 million) and is actually the riskiest of the arbitration eligibles. According to arbitration rules, the Phillies can’t offer him less than $1.96 million in an arbitration deal. The problem with that is he’s almost certain go to arbitration — where he’ll win.

Kendrick’s line from 2011: 8-6, 3.22 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, 4.6 K/9, 1.97 K/BB ratio.

This is trouble. Over the last two seasons, he’s actually gone 19-16 with a 4.14 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and average peripherals. He has 3.159 years of service time.

Consider this comparable from last year:

Jason Hammel, COL: 20-17, 4.57 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, 7.0 K/9, 3.08 K/BB ratio. Hammel asked for $3.7 million and was offered $3.1 million by the Rockies, and settled for a 2 year deal that paid him $3 million in 2011 and will pay him $4.75 million next season. Is that what you want Kendrick to get? The arbiters will likely see Kendrick as BETTER than Hammel, so the Phils would probably have to offer $3.875 million or better to avoid a certain loss.

Another comparable:

Kevin Slowey, MIN (2010): 23-9, 4.60 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 1.6 BB/9, 7.0 K/9, 4.34 K/BB ratio. He asked for $3.1 million, the club offered $2.3 million and he settled for 1/$2.7 million. He was also coming off a season where he made less than $500k, so that is also a factor.

Last one:

Scott Feldman, TEX (2010): 23-16, 4.62 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, 4.6 K/9, 1.55 K/BB ratio. He asked for $2.9 million, he was offered $2.05 million, and he settled for $2.425 million in a one year deal and signed a 2/$11.5 million deal.

This is another example of how offering Kendrick arbitration would be a very risky proposition. It’s not that I don’t want Kendrick’s versatility here, it’s more that I don’t want him at the price he’ll command. If it’s me, I non-tender him and take my chances re-signing him as a free agent.

Ben Francisco would come reasonably cheap, and I wouldn’t be too concerned about him winning an arbitration decision. He could be offered $940k as a minimum tender offer, but the Phillies could just as easily go with a Pence-Victorino-Mayberry outfield with Domonic Brown as the 4th outfielder. He’s another non-tender candidate, as I can really see better places to spend $1 million for a guy who won’t even be the first right-handed bat off the bench.

Valdez is a guy who has shown over the past two years that he has real value. He made $560k last year and is worth that as at least a defensive replacement. He can also fill in at second base, shortstop, or third base, and perform at least to a major league replacement level. I’d probably offer him in the $650-750k realm to stay and if he turns it down, look elsewhere.

Bowker was a guy they picked up for the stretch run, and will be non-tendered. Scott Mathieson is nice AAA depth, but I don’t think he’ll ever really stick on a major league roster, unless he develops a second pitch.

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