The Phillies' 2011 rotation won't be hard to assemble, will be expensive and should be effective. The combination of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton will cost the Phillies $56MM next season - more than the Padres, Pirates or Marlins will spend on their entire teams this year. That's an expensive front four, but the group should also be durable and effective.
Halladay is arguably the best pitcher in the game and Oswalt and Hamels are in the midst of characteristically strong seasons. That trio is tough to beat, even if Blanton doesn't rebound from his career high 5.54 ERA.
This year, Charlie Manuel has called on Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick to fill out the rotation. Moyer, a free agent this offseason, is out indefinitely with a left elbow injury, but Kendrick has been effective in spite of his low strikeout rate (4.5 K/9). He has a 4.45 ERA thanks to his ability to limit walks (2.4 BB/9) and induce enough ground balls (44% ground ball rate).
Should the Phillies need to call on a minor leaguer next year, they'll have a few options. Right-handers Drew Carpenter and Vance Worley have been effective in the upper minors this year and both have pitched in the majors. Worley, still just 22, could become a back-of-the-rotation starter, according to pre-season analysis from Baseball America. Carpenter, who is two and a half years older than Worley, is now putting together his second consecutive solid season at Triple A Lehigh Valley, so he provides Philadelphia with another option.
The Phillies can bring their entire rotation back for 2011 and they have minor leaguers who are ready to contribute if called upon. They don't need to pursue Moyer or other free agent pitchers this winter and they already have about $144MM committed to next year's payroll, so they wouldn't have much to spend on pitching if they wanted to.
Philadelphia traded talented players away to acquire the rotation they now have. It cost Kyle Drabek, J.A. Happ and then some to acquire Halladay and Oswalt. The result is a more predictable, more expensive rotation that could easily be one of the league's best.