The Phillies beat the midnight deadline to offer contracts to arbitration-eligible players by tendering deals to Kyle Kendrick and Ben Francisco.
Beerleaguer: Francisco wasn’t a surprise since the Phillies are preparing for the likely loss of Jayson Werth. Francisco is tentatively penciled into a right-field platoon with Domonic Brown and/or Ross Gload, but we’ll see how that shakes out.(recall that the brass mentioned Greg Dobbs as a possibility for left two years ago before they signed Raul Ibanez). Actually, an interesting guy shook loose today. The Braves non-tendered familiar foe Matt Diaz, who hits well against left-handed pitching and seems to save his best for games against the Phils. Platooning at both corners is certainly a possibility, too, with Raul Ibanez struggling to hit left-handed pitching last season. It’s something the Phils have successfully done in the past, most notably in 1993.
As for Kendrick, his situation was a little less certain, but all you need to do is take a look at the pitching market to see the premium that has been placed on good depth to understand why he was retained. It’s not enough to survive the rigors of a 162-game season with only five starters, a lesson the Phillies know well. Kendrick will fight for his starting job in Clearwater for what seems like the 100th time. Last year he duked it out with Jamie Moyer. Before that, it was Chan Ho Park and J.A. Happ. This time he’ll have Vance Worley breathing down his neck.
Still, when you consider what little is out there, you wonder how much a guy like Kendrick could bring in a trade. If at the end of spring training, the Phillies have holes and see some redundancies with Kendrick, or even Francisco, they could still be moved. It will be interesting, too, to see what Kendrick, as a 35-game winner with a career 4.69 ERA, takes home in his first year of arb eligibility.