Not to long ago, the Phillies avoided arbitration with right hander Kyle Kendrick by agreeing on a one year, $3.585 million dollar contract. But as the first day of official spring training workouts came along, so did a new deal for Kendrick. The Phillies were able to tie Kendrick up for the next 2 years, paying him $7.5 million over that time.
Kendrick, 27, went 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA in 34 games (15 starts) last season, shuttling between the rotation and bullpen. He was at his best within the division last year. In 18 games against the NL East he went 5-2 with a 2.14 ERA. Even when the numbers look good you can’t put a number on how durable he was for the Phillies last season. With constant injuries to Blanton and Oswalt, Kendrick never hesitated to step up and start a game. In Amaro’s own words:
“He’s been very durable, I knock wood on that one. He’s won a lot of games for us. He’s played some pretty important roles for us, particularly as a starter, but he’s also adapted pretty well to being in the bullpen as well. He provides a variety of roles for us and in some ways some insurance.”
Kendrick has matured a lot over the past years, and Phillies pitching coach, Rich Dubee, has even admitted that Kendrick had frustrated him in the past. However, both Kendrick and Dubee agree on the improvements he has made while he has been here. It may have come from watching Halladay and Lee, and the way they prepare themselves and take responsibility for themselves. Undeniably over the past years he has added 2 more pitches and a lot of confidence.
Drafted by the Phillies in the seventh round of the 2003 draft, Kendrick is 43-30 for his career, with a 4.41 ERA in 127 games, and he has been constantly improving. Left-handed hitters had hit .320 with an alarming .913 OPS against him from 2007-10. They hit just .234 with a .763 OPS against him last season, so expect him to fill the role of the fifth starter nicely for the Phillies in ’12 and ’13.