A fragmented April schedule could play in Jamie Moyer’s favor.
Sometime between January and February, the fifth starter job has gone from Moyer’s to lose, as Ruben Amaro suggested during the Winter Tour, to anyone’s job to win. Maybe it’s the beard, or maybe the biceps, but Kyle Kendrick seems to have pulled even with the veteran left-hander, who will be making $8 million this season. Kendrick is in a similar predicament to J.A. Happ’s situation last spring in that he’s in the running for fifth starter, but at the same time, in danger of missing the cut completely and being sent back to the minors. Kendrick has been conditioning feverishly since early winter and has caught the attention of the Phillies’ brass, including Charlie Manuel, who says the right-hander is in peak physical form.
Meanwhile, for the first time in about 18 years, Moyer will be pushed in spring training. He's already ahead of where many people thought he’d be. Technically, he may not need to be 100 percent by Opening Day. Because April’s scheduling is so wacky, baseball’s first month is usually treated as an extension of spring training; With the way the schedule falls, both Kendrick and Moyer could start out in the bullpen. Recall that Chan Ho Park wasn’t needed until April 12 last season and spent the first few days in the 'pen, which is where Happ would stay until May 23 when the Phillies decided to make the switch.
The Phillies play Washington and Florida early, which could play to Moyer’s favor if they go with five starters from the outset; Moyer has been comically strong against those clubs. At 47 and fresh off multiple surgeries, the rotation might be viewed as Moyer’s only option, despite last year’s bullpen assignment. And just as Happ accepted a bullpen role last year, Kendrick and his young, rubber arm could be ticketed for the ‘pen if the Phillies decide that making him a long-man is the best way to bring the best set of pitchers north. And if he's successful, he's caught in a catch 22.
Chopper to Yankees: Speaking of Park, he has reportedly agreed to terms with the Yankees on a one-year contract worth $1.2 million, which is less than half of what the Phillies reportedly offered and $300K less than Jose Contreras’ deal.
Correction: The Phillies will likely need five starters as early as April 11, which is not late April - hat tip Krukker.