Kyle Kendrick Rumors

NL Notes: Kendrick, Diamondbacks, Fernandez

Kyle Kendrick of the Phillies is highly motivated as he prepares for free agency, Matt Gelb of the Inquirer writes. Gelb points to Jason Vargas, Scott Feldman and Ricky Nolasco — all of whom signed contracts worth at least $30MM — as potential comparables for Kendrick. "When similar guys close to your numbers sign those deals, that's a good thing," says Kendrick. Kendrick has never pitched more than 182 innings in a season, so 200 innings in 2014 would likely go a long way toward helping him strike gold on the free-agent market. Here's more from the National League.

  • The Diamondbacks' fate will be determined primarily by returning players like Paul Goldschmidt and Patrick Corbin, but their additions of Mark Trumbo, Bronson Arroyo and Addison Reed could be what finally gets them past .500, Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com writes. The Diamondbacks are also likely to receive a contribution from top prospect Archie Bradley, although the addition of Arroyo should allow the team to give Bradley some extra minor-league time. Bradley, 21, pitched most of last season at Double-A Mobile.
  • Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez tells the Miami Herald's Clark Spencer (via Twitter) that he will make $635K in 2014, a very significant raise for a pre-arbitration player. Earlier in the day, the Marlins announced that they had signed all of their 28 pre-arbitration-eligible players. Fernandez, of course, is following up a stellar first season in which he won the Rookie of the Year award and finished third in NL Cy Young voting.

Phillies Notes: Wetzler, Starters, Kendrick

The ultimate lesson of the Phillies-Ben Wetzler affair, writes Baseball America's Aaron Fitt, is that leverage has shifted too far in favor of MLB teams in the amateur draft. Teams generally force quick (albeit legally non-binding) decisions by players on draft night, pressuring them to agree to accept below-slot deals. "The NCAA is going out there saying basically, don't get an advisor," an agent tells Fitt. "Meanwhile, MLB has changed the rules to where advisors are more necessary than ever." And now, Philadelphia's reporting (and the NCAA's suspension) of Wetzler for utilizing an agent adds a stick to the carrot of bonus money and the pressure of the short decision-making timeframe. Needless to say, Fitt advocates for a change to the system.

Here's more out of Philadelphia:

  • Shoulder issues are putting an early strain on the Phils' pitching depth, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Having already seen prospect Adam Morgan go under the knife, Philadelphia is now monitoring young pitchers Jonathan Pettibone (who threw a pen session after getting a cortisone shot for a lingering shoulder problem) and Ethan Martin (who took an MRI because he was dealing with pain and working well under peak velocity). It is worth noting that the team also lost a potentially valuable rotation depth piece when it waived Chad Gaudin over medical concerns.
  • GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said that the injuries were not explainable, other than the fact that, "sometimes anatomy is just anatomy," reports CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury. Noting that the organization had "one of the most state-of-the-art, medically sound organizations in baseball," Amaro indicated that the cluster of issues was plain bad luck. "You can't do anything about it, other than try to prevent it," said Amaro. "If the guy breaks, he breaks."
  • One starting pitcher without apparent physical issue is Kyle Kendrick, who is entering his last season before reaching free agency. As Gelb reports, the 29-year-old righty says that this offseason's free agent spending spree — which included some sizeable deals for durable, mid-rotation arms — provided added motivation. "When similar guys close to your numbers sign those deals, that's a good thing," he said. " … Obviously you see them and you just want to put up better numbers." Though Kendrick hopes to remain in Philadelphia, he says, he has not had any talks with the club about a multi-year deal. 

Phillies Avoid Arbitration With Kyle Kendrick

The Phillies have avoided arbitration with right-hander Kyle Kendrick by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $7.675MM, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). Kendrick is a client of Relativity Baseball (formerly known as SFX).

Kendrick, 29, looked to be on his way to another strong season at the All-Star break in 2013 when he had an ERA of 3.68. That would've marked his third straight sub-4.00 ERA campaign, but a disastrous second half saw him post a 6.81 ERA, causing his overall mark to ballon to 4.70. Kendrick ultimately finished the season on the 60-day disabled list for shoulder inflammation, which likely contributed to his second-half struggles.

Over the past three seasons, Kendrick has established himself as a solid arm, posting a 4.05 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 456 innings of work. His agents at Relativity did well to secure a $7.675MM guarantee, as MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected Kendrick to earn $6.6MM.

With Kendrick now settled, the Phillies have taken care of their most expensive arbitration case. Their remaining casesAntonio Bastardo, Ben Revere and John Mayberry — all project to earn $2MM or less, per Swartz.



Phillies Notes: Pitching, Kendrick, Ruiz

The Phillies' pitching staff, once one of the game's best, may require an overhaul, Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. The club has used ten starters this season, which is the major league average, according to Gelb.  However, stats such as the team's 4.29 ERA, good for second-to-last in the NL, indicate an inability to cope with even "an average amount of uncertainty" in the rotation. "Long guys, swing men, depth in the bullpen and depth in the triple-A level are a need," manager Ryne Sandberg commented. "That is very evident right now." More Sunday morning Phillies links:

  • While Gelb highlights uncertainty in the rotation as a prime contributor to the Phillies' disappointing 2013 campaign, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says the club plans to tender Kyle Kendrick a contract in the offseason, meaning that four of the team's five rotation slots may already be filled. If Kendrick returns to the rotation, he and Cuban import Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez would likely slide in behind Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. "I don't know why people are asking about that," Amaro said of speculation on whether Kendrick will be tendered a contract, according to an article by Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. "We will."
  • There appears to be mutual interest in catcher Carlos Ruiz returning to the club next year, according to Zolecki's piece. "I think mutually we would like to continue the relationship," Amaro said. "At some point we'll get together, negotiate, and see where it goes." Ruiz says he's happy in Philadelphia, but added that he plans to test the market if a deal isn't done before the World Series.
  • Despite the Phillies' pitching woes, offense is also a need for a club that entered its final two games of the season averaging 3.75 runs per game, Zolecki writes on his blog.

Quick Hits: Kendrick, Bradley, Balentien, Brennaman

This Sunday is Mariano Rivera Day at Yankee Stadium — a day set aside to commemorate the Hall of Fame career of the greatest closer in baseball history. However, as the New York Post's Ken Davidoff writes, Rivera came close to never saving a game in Yankee pinstripes. Prior to the 1996 season, the Yankees debated flipping Rivera to the Mariners in exchange for offensively challenged shortstop Felix Fermin because they weren't sure a hot prospect by the name of Derek Jeter was ready. Several members of the Yankees staff, including then-assistant-GM Brian Cashman and then-manager Joe Torre talked president George Steinbrenner out of the deal. Jeter went on to win the AL Rookie of the Year award, while Rivera finished third in the Cy Young voting with 107 2/3 innings of dominant relief work. Here's more from around the league…

  • Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick will be shut down after getting a second opinion on his injured right shoulder, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Though the move could be purely precautionary, Kendrick had expected to return to the rotation. As Zolecki notes, any concern over Kendrick's shoulder could play a role in the team's decision whether to offer him salary arbitration. The 29-year-old is set to reach his fourth and final season of arbitration eligibility, and will be due a raise on the $4.5MM he earned last year. He has struggled to a 4.70 ERA in 182 innings on the season, his worst campaign since 2010. Advanced metrics see things somewhat differently, though they do not necessarily make him look much more appealing in broader terms: Kendrick's 4.01 FIP and 4.15 xFIP are actually the second-best tallies of his career. By measure of SIERA, the hurler has never posted a sub-4.00 season.
  • Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers says that phenom Archie Bradley will not reach the bigs this year, reports Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. "To add him to the roster in the winter when roster spots are very valuable to us — and the team being pretty much out of contention — didn't make a lot of sense," said Towers. The 21-year-old starter will, however, get a chance to earn a spot in the club's 2014 rotation in spring training, according to the Snakes' GM.
  • Wladimir Balentien's historic season in Japan has led to speculation that he might be a big league target in spite of his long-term deal with the Yakult Swallows. For his part, however, Balentien insists he has had no thoughts of a move, per a Nikkan Sports report (link in Japanese) transmitted via Twitter by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. "No. I'm surprised that's come up," said Balentien in reference to the rumors."I'm with the Swallows for four years."
  • Marty Brennaman, the Reds' radio voice since 1974, has just inked a new three-year deal at age 71, reports Nick Hurm of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Brennaman received the Ford C. Frick Award over thirteen years back, and partnered with fellow legend Joe Nuxhall for over thirty seasons. 

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Phillies Notes: Ruiz, Ruf, Halladay, Kendrick, Lannan

Catching figures to be a major priority for the Phillies this season with Carlos Ruiz eligible for free agency and top catching prospect Tommy Joseph having endured a lost season as a result of concussion issues. However, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com provides an in-depth look at the Phils' catching depth beyond Joseph, noting that Cameron Rupp has already reached the Majors. Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan tells Salisbury that he's also very excited about 2013 second-rounder Andrew Knapp, and a rival scout familiar with the Phillies' system was particularly enthusiastic about Dominican prospect Deivi Grullon. Here's more on Ruiz and the Phillies…

  • Ruiz would like to return to Philadelphia, writes Salisbury in a separate piece, and the organization has taken note of his recent surge at the plate, with GM Ruben Amaro Jr. stating that Ruiz looks far more relaxed. Pitching coach Rich Dubee, who knows Ruiz quite well, feels that Ruiz is best limited to 100 games behind the plate at this point in his career, however.
  • Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus writes that Darin Ruf is exceeding expectations of scouts and talent evaluators with his production at the big league level so far. Lindbergh's piece includes an excellent interview with Ruf, conducted last week, in which Ruf discusses what scouts thought of him, his limitations on the field and his journey from senior sign/20th-round pick to a potential long-term asset for the Phillies. "I’m probably a bad person to ask prospect-type questions because, I don’t know, I never was one," Ruf candidly replied at one point in the interview.
  • Roy Halladay and Kyle Kendrick will force the Phils to make tough decisions this offseason, writes MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. The Phillies have four more starts to evaluate Halladay's progress from shoulder surgery, but as Amaro noted to Zolecki, it's possible that Doc won't be at full strength until next spring. Amaro and his staff will have to decide whether or not to bring Halladay back on an incentive-laden deal or seek a more certain commodity.
  • Likewise, the decision on whether or not to tender Kendrick a contract that could approach $8MM via arbitration is no easy decision. Kendrick has never been on the disabled list, Zolecki noted in a different piece, a trait that would make him desirable to other teams should the Phillies non-tender him and try to sign him for less money. Dubee agreed: "If something doesn't happen here, I'm sure there's going to be plenty of seekers. He's durable. He hasn't missed a start all year. Those guys are highly sought."
  • Zolecki also adds that left-hander John Lannan is likely to be non-tendered by the Phils this offseason following surgery on his left knee.

Phillies Notes: Aumont, Franco, Kendrick, Bernadina

Here are some items from the City of Brotherly Love…

  • Right-hander Phillippe Aumont wasn't included in the first round of September callups and "faces an uncertain future" with the Phillies, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Aumont has posted a 3.97 ERA over 34 innings with the Phils over the last two seasons, racking up strikeouts (33) but also walking 22 batters.  Aumont has issued 36 walks over 34 2/3 IP at Triple-A this season.  The Mariners took Aumont with the 11th overall pick of the 2007 amateur draft and was dealt to the Phillies as part of the Cliff Lee trade in December 2009.  Aumont was ranked as a top-100 prospect by Baseball America every year from 2008-10.
  • Also from Gelb, the Phillies didn't call up top prospect Maikel Franco because the team wants to look at Cody Asche at third base this month.  GM Ruben Amaro did say that a Franco promotion was at least "discussed internally" among team officials.
  • Kyle Kendrick will probably end up with roughly a $7.5MM salary for 2014 following his final offseason of arbitration eligibility, projects David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News.  That's a reasonable price for a pitcher of Kendrick's caliber, Murphy feels, given how some other pitchers earning similar money in 2013 have been disappointments.  It hasn't been a great year for the right-hander (4.51 ERA, 5,2 K/9, 2.36 K/BB), though he's on pace to throw a new career high in innings and his advanced metrics (3.93 FIP, 4.16 xFIP, 4.39 SIERA) indicate that Kendrick has been a bit unlucky.  His 49% ground ball rate also makes him a valuable asset pitching at Citizens Bank Park.
  • Roger Bernadina went 1-for-3 for the Phillies in today's 3-2 win over the Nationals, the first time Bernadina had faced his former team since being released two weeks ago.  Before the game, Bernadina told reporters (including MLB.com's Bill Ladson) that he "was a little bit shocked" at his release but enjoyed his time in Washington and now enjoys being a Phillie.

East Notes: Cashman, Ohman, Kendrick, Yanks

The Yankees announced today that general manager Brian Cashman broke his right fibula and dislocated his right ankle on the landing of a tandem skydive. Cashman was skydiving with the U.S. Army Golden Knights to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project.

“I’m in great spirits, and it was an awesome experience," Cashman was quoted as saying in the press release. "The Golden Knights are first class. While I certainly didn’t intend to raise awareness in exactly this fashion, I’m extremely happy that the Wounded Warrior Project is getting the well-deserved additional attention.” He is scheduled for surgery today. Here's more out of baseball's Eastern divisions…

  • Will Ohman does not have an out clause in his contract, but the Nationals would likely grant him his release if he asked for it, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson (on Twitter). Ohman signed a minor league deal with the reigning NL East champs last month.
  • Phillies righty Kyle Kendrick was roughed up in his start Sunday, but he told David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he appreciates knowing the poor outing doesn't jeopardize his rotation spot. As Murphy notes, Kendrick hasn't experienced that type of security in recent years, as he's typically been on the fringe of Philadelphia's rotation.
  • Peter Botte of the New York Daily News writes that Robinson Cano's father, Jose, hopes his son will sign an extension that will make him a Yankee for life. Jose will be a bench coach for the Dominican Republic's WBC team on which Robinson will play. The Bombers' second baseman didn't get into contract talks, but did admit how important his father's advice is to him.
  • The Yankees are very likely to receive their worst offensive output from the catcher position since before Jorge Posada emerged in the late-90s, writes Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues. The Bombers decided against acquiring a standout backstop this offseason and will pull from a group consisting of Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli, and Austin Romine.

Phillies Notes: Halladay, Kendrick, Hairston, Stanton

The Phillies saw their streak of five consecutive NL East titles ended by the Nationals in 2012. But, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com writes there is optimism since the Phillies won 60% of their games after July 31 despite the health issues of Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz, trading away Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, and not having a reliable setup man for Jonathan Papelbon. The Phillies, however, enter the new year with several question marks which Zolecki says centers around the health of Halladay and Chase Utley, the continued recovery of Ryan Howard, and how much offense new acquistions Michael Young and Ben Revere will contribute. For more news and notes on the Phillies, Zolecki opened his inbox

  • Zolecki, when asked about the health of Halladay, quoted GM Ruben Amaro Jr. who recently said, "He's going to start throwing off the mound here very shortly. I guess he's working down there with Kyle Kendrick pretty extensively. He's doing well, but we don't know what kind of Doc we're going to get until Doc's down firing in Spring Training."
  • Speaking of Kendrick, Zolecki believes he's a lock for the starting rotation as long as he remains healthy.
  • Scott Hairston would be the best fit to fill one of the corner outfield vacancies. Zolecki notes the Phillies have tried to acquire Hairston in the past. Zolecki also mentioned Alfonso Soriano, who he thinks would slot in nicely hitting behind Utley and Howard.
  • If the Phillies acquire a right-handed outfield bat, look for Darin Ruf to open the season at Triple-A.
  • The Phillies don't have have enough top-tier talent to tempt the Marlins into trading Giancarlo Stanton to the City of Brotherly Love.

Stark On Rays, Volquez, Butler, Phillies

The chances of Cole Hamels getting traded are diminishing, but they haven't disappeared, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports. The Phillies are trying to sign the left-hander to a long-term deal, but will weigh trade offers if they can’t agree on an extension. Here are Stark’s latest rumors…

  • The Rays would be looking for a combination of high-end young pitchers, a young catcher and a controllable hitter if they discuss trades involving James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson. Wade Davis is drawing as much interest as Shields, now that he’s pitching well out of the Tampa Bay bullpen, Stark reports.
  • The Astros have told rival teams that they’d absorb a substantial percentage of Wandy Rodriguez’s salary in a trade if it allows them to get “the best value back.” 
  • The Padres aren’t shopping Edinson Volquez, but they haven’t made him untouchable.
  • Teams don’t expect the Marlins will trade Josh Johnson, who’s under contract for 2013.
  • Brandon McCarthy’s history of shoulder problems diminishes his trade value. “He's not going anywhere," one executive predicted to Stark.
  • The Nationals haven’t been focused on finding a center fielder.
  • Hunter Pence is attracting as much interest as anyone on the Phillies, including Hamels. However, the Phillies have downplayed their interest in trading the right fielder. Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Blanton, Placido Polanco and Kyle Kendrick would be available if the Phillies decide to sell this month, Stark reports. Rollins can veto any trade and would only accept deals to West Coast contenders.
  • The Pirates have asked about tons of hitters, including Billy Butler, but they’re still in a “buy-low frame of mind.” The Royals have told clubs they’d have to be overwhelmed to part with Butler, Stark reports.
  • The Rockies are trying to move Marco Scutaro and Jason Giambi, but they’d have to be “bowled over” to deal relievers such as Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle and Matt Reynolds.