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.
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.
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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