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Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Durbin is equipped for the bullpen and has succeeded there the past 3 seasons. KK...not sure.

I'd prefer getting a prospect or two in a deal for Blanton and plugging KK in the 5th spot in the rotation.

I'm happy with what they've got from KK over the years, but I'd much rather they signed a better bullpen arm, keep Blanton at #5, and use Worley as #6/bullpen arm.

I can't believe I picked KK. But we are sure to need surplus starters in case of injury. That seems almost inevitable. Durbin is ok but that seems like a lot of money for him when I think about it. The guy is mediocre too most of the time.

If there was a "neither" choice, I think it might be a popular one.

Also picked Kendrick.

I firmly believe you need 6 qualified starters going into spring training to get through the long season, and hopefully well into the post season, to fill the 5 man rotation. Injuries, wear and tear, dead -arm stretches always seem to happen.

Most likely both will find roster spots, but if I had to pick 1 it would be KK.

The Phils have a load of young relief prospects, and KK can at least provide some value as a starter in case of emergency. If this is the choice, the proper allocation of the resources is to KK, not Durbin.

Jack - Agreed. BTY I like KK better as as a long man than Herndon or Bonine either.

Durbin was a failed 5th starter when we signed him back in the winter of 07/08.

KK is a decent 5th starter now. This is a no brainer.

Other than a great first half in 2008, Chad Durbin has been decidedly average. Its amazing the amount of love he gets around here.

I picked Kendrick. Durbin is a slightly above average reliever; Kendrick is a decidedly below average, but nonetheless viable, starter. The latter entity is the more difficult to find.

I threw up in my mouth a little for doing it, but I picked KK. Neither choice is particularly palatable, however.

I also picked Kendrick. I really don't understand the vitriol he gets. People don't understand that a starter like KK is still very valuable. He is what he is, and he has shown the ability to eat innings, even if he doesn't have overpowering stuff. That's much more valuable than a middle reliever like Durbin. I'm baffled that the vote is as close as it is right now.

I don't buy the argument that it takes a certain mentality to be able to work out of the bullpen. There is a period of adjustment to get accustom to a different kind of workload, after which you're good to go.

Any athlete that is good enough to work as a starting pitcher in major league baseball is perfectly capable of pitching at least as well in the bullpen as they did in the rotation.

I'm confident that Kendrick can do Durbin's job. I'm not confident that Durbin can do Kendrick's job. Kendrick > Durbin.

NEPP: Agreed. He was terrific for the first half of 2008, which I'll always credit him for. He helped win a WS afterall. The definition of mediocrity since. Kendrick makes sense as an emergency starter who is sure to be needed. #7 would be Worley. It would take a leap of faith to say he is a better choice than Kendrick. He may be, but I have no way of knowing that.

When talking about the bullpen, it's important to note that Kendrick and Durbin are different pitchers. Durbin can miss bats; he'll average about 8 K per 9 innings. Kendrick averages about 4. That's even less than Herndon (5).

Strikeouts are overrated. Outs matter. How the out is recorded only matters with RISP, a scenario in which KK shines.

Strikeouts aren't overrated in the bullpen. Say you start an inning with Bastardo against two lefties, both reach. Manuel makes the call for a righty. This would usually be Durbin or someone. Now put Kendrick in that role. Durbin is twice as likely to get a strikeout there.

I'm easily swayed. Change my vote.

Tough call. I picked Durbin because he can get into a groove and be dominant at times, whereas that never seems to happen with Kendrick.

Jason: I understand and agree with your point, but I'd still rather the upside of an arm in the pen that can start if necessary.

On the other hand, Durbin can't start. Kendrick can pitch 180 innings like he did last season.

Everyone's belief seems to be that an slightly below-average but viable 5th starter is more valuable than a consistently average middle reliever, and thus Kendrick is more valuable than Durbin. I disagree, however, and voted for Durbin.

If anything, I think it's the other way around. Career relievers are almost always bouncing up and down each season; good year, bad year, good year, bad year, etc.

Current Phils Brad Lidge and Danys Baez are perfect examples of this. Look at their career stats.

However, virtually no team in the MLB has a "good" 5th starter; a sufficient 5th starter type is generally any pitcher who can pitch 5-6 innings a night while maintaining an ERA around 5.00 or less. Kendrick is a good 5th pitcher, no doubt, but I don't think his type is super rare or valuable. I see no reason why Vance Worley, John Maine or any of the remaining pitchers on the market of this nature couldn't pitch the same number of innings as Kendrick next year, while possibly even surrendering less runs. With out rotation, we don't need an above-average 5th like KK, but we could certainly use one of the few major league middle relievers who is, if not good, consistently average every season.

I picked Kendrick, but JW makes a good point about the strikeout difference between the two.

jw: Agree with you that relievers need to be able to miss bats or, at the very least, induce ground balls. Kendrick does neither, which is why I don't share the widely-held view that he could pitch out of the bullpen & do as well as Durbin did.

Of course, the flip side is that Durbin can't start & Kendrick can. Hence, I voted for Kendrick. If the Phillies can't fill Durbin's role internally, it won't be that hard to fix the problem with a miid-season trade. The same can't be said of the fifth starter's role.

This was a tough decision, no doubt. I chose to keep Blanton as the 5th starter mainly because of Kendrick's ability to start. Should there be an injury, or Blanton is traded mid-season, Kendrick could fill that void. Like him or not, he has proven that he can pitch with some success at the MLB level. Worley cannot say the same as of yet. In a pinch, Kendrick gets the nod over Worley. Hopefully, however, we never have to find out.


And today will be better than yesterday.

Really it just sounds like Amaro is blowing smoke re: Blanton. If he makes it clear that Blanton has to go he won't get anything in least Amaro learned something from the Cliff Lee to Seattle trade.

"we could certainly use one of the few major league middle relievers who is, if not good, consistently average every season."

Indeed we could &, if we could find one, he probably would be of more value to us than Kendrick. Chad Durbin ain't it, though. In 3 years with the Phillies, he has had one pretty good year (2008), one slightly above average year (last year), and one year in which he couldn't find the plate all season and was perfectly awful. He is the very epitome of the fungible "good one year, bad the next" reliever that you just described in your post.

bay_area_phan, I wouldn't quite say he's the epitome of what I described. You said it yourself: in two of three years with us, he's had above-average seasons (one of which was pretty good, for that matter). Sure, in '09 he wasn't great. But I've seen Kendrick at his worst, and it doesn't seem to me like Durbin has really ever been any worse than that. When Kendrick is struggling, he is surrendering 3-run upper deck home runs in the first inning of home games, and he had the worst K/9 of eligible pitchers in the majors last year.

He is more replacable than Durbin, especially given the current situation of our farm system.

"Other than a great first half in 2008, Chad Durbin has been decidedly average."

NEPP, actually, if you look at his game logs, he has been up and down. When healthy he has, for some stretches, pitched as well as he did in the beginning of 2008. However, he has been DL'd in both 2009 and 2010, and he's been up and down because of the injuries. If he stays healthy, he should be a pretty decent reliever.

Now, as to who I picked?

I picked Durbin. Why? Because if I were RAJ, would take a little risk in order to reduce payroll dramatically, and I would trade BOTH Blanton and Kendrick...IF Worley demonstrates in ST that he's a viable option for the #5 spot.

2.45 + 8.50 = 11.25 off the books, and gives them max flexibility to make a move later in the season.

IMHO, with the Four Aces, it's a move that they can afford to make.

The staff would look like this:


Mad Dog
Juan Carlos
Baez (Ugh!)
Tony Bastard or someone else

Kendrick proves the old expression "the sun don't shine on the same dog's ass everyday"

Maybe we're all forgetting that Kendrick is the glue that holds this team together. Since being brought up to the big club they have won 4 consecutive Eastern Division titles, 2 NLCS Championships, and a 1 WS Title. There is NO one on the roster who's had quite as big of an impact. [End Sarcasm]

Before we get too out of control with Vance Worley, this guy has a lot yet to prove at the major league level.

Don't get me wrong, I'm hoping for the best, but I think it's a mistake to assume that Worley > Kendrick in the big leagues. I'm not saying he won't prove it...I'm just saying he hasn't proven it yet.

****When talking about the bullpen, it's important to note that Kendrick and Durbin are different pitchers. Durbin can miss bats; he'll average about 8 K per 9 innings. Kendrick averages about 4. That's even less than Herndon (5).

Posted by: J. Weitzel | Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 10:53 AM


Look at Durbin's splits though:

as a Starter: 4.8 K/9
as a Reliever: 7.4 K/9

His stuff plays up in the most failed starters. Who's to say that with enough relief time, KK's K/9 ratio would go up too? Durbin see's less LHBs out of the BP too as UC is more apt to bring in a LOOGY. That helps protect his peripherals out of the BP.

Classy move by Gil Meche:

From MLBTradeRumors:
"The Royals caught a $12MM break yesterday and Dayton Moore has never seen anything like it. The Kansas City GM says he didn't expect Gil Meche to retire, since the right-hander had the option of collecting checks all season long. Instead, he forfeited the money, called it a career and provded his former team with unexpected financial flexibility."

"He is more replacable than Durbin, especially given the current situation of our farm system."

He is? We have exactly 1 guy in our farm system (Worley) who might be ready and able to be a serviceable starter at the major league level. We have multiple guys in our farm system -- Worley, DeFratus, Mathieson, Ramirez, Hyatt, Stutes, Schwimer -- who could plausibly be ready to contribute at the major league level some time this year. And that doesn't even include the younger guys already in the majors, like Herndon & Bastardo. With 8 or 9 potential options, I like my odds of finding a Chad Durbin type pitcher better than I like my odds that the totally unproven Vance Worley will turn out to be a viable major league starter.

Remember that wonderful 07/08 off-season? The Mets had just traded the farm for perennial Cy Young winner Johan Santana and Gillick goes and signs Chad Durbin as a swingman. Remember how angry everyone here was about that?

Now, St. Durbin is being worshipped thanks to 3 decidedly average years as a middle reliever.

BAP - Agreed. The starting depth at AA/AAA is thin-to-none. It includes Worley and after that a bunch of mediocre options at best (Carpenter) or guys who simply aren't ready to pitch at the MLB-level (JC Ramirez).

Phils have some starting pitching talent in their system but it will start the season mostly at Clearwater and some at Lakewood.

Will, no one is assuming Worley > Kendrick. AAMOF, I would be happy if Worley = Kendrick.

My point is that even if Worley < Kendrick, the top 4 in the rotation are good enough to overcome that.

Take a look at last season:

I listed all the injuries to the position players on the last thread, so I'm not doing it again.

But they also had injuries to Blanton and Happ at the beginning of the season, and lost Moyer.

Also, the rotation at the start of 2010 was slated to be


Now, it's


Cole has ostensibly moved from #2 to #4. Unless the rotation is beset by the kinds of injuries they had in 2010 (I don't), then IMHO even if Worley < KK it won't matter much.

I'll take the strikeouts form Durbin in the pen.

awh: As we'll recall from the Gavin Floyd, Ryan Madson, & Chan Ho Park experiences, it's pretty common for a pitcher to impress in spring training, then fail resoundingly once the real games start. Let's say that happens with Worley & you've already traded Blanton & KK. Now what?

Cole has probably the best season of his career and gets dropped 2 spots in the rotation.

Its a good time to be a Phillies fan.

Note: Yeah, Cole was statistically better in 08 and had a great PS run but he seemed like a more complete pitcher this year. It wasnt just changeup/changeup/changeup in 2010. He attacked hitters, developed and threw a solid cutter, drastically improved his fastball and even improved his curveball to a mediocre MLB pitch. And kept his fantastic changeup.

bap, what part of " if I were RAJ, would take a little risk in order to reduce payroll dramatically" did you not understand?

Sure, it has some risk.

I would take it.

You're welcome to disagree.

bap, to that I would add this question:

Do you think that Worley's line of

27 G, 27 GS, 10 - 7, 158 IP, 3.36 ERA, 1.304 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, 2.6 BB/9

between AA and AAA last season was a fluke?

As I posted, I would take the chance and give him a shot IF he looks ok in ST.

Tons of factors here to consider - but if you took them all away:

Is it universally agreed that Durbin is a better pitcher as a releiver than Kendrick?

I think that.

"Now, St. Durbin is being worshipped thanks to 3 decidedly average years as a middle reliever."

This is an overstatement of Cloutian proportions.

****Is it universally agreed that Durbin is a better pitcher as a releiver than Kendrick?

I think that.


No. KK has never been a reliever long-term. Durbin was converted because he was a terrible starter in 75 GS in Detroit/KC. He had an ERA near 6 over that span and mediocre peripherals. KK could be a very good reliever for all we know. He's a better starter than Durbin ever was so its likely he'd be a better reliever too.

Middle relievers are FAILED starters. Teams dont develop middle relievers in the minors.

****This is an overstatement of Cloutian proportions. ****


awh: I neither agreed nor disagreed with your opinion, nor was I trying to challenge your opinion. I just asked a perfectly reasonable question. If I said, "I think we should trade Ryan Howard to get rid of his $20M salary," surely it would be fair to ask me who I plan to play at 1st base. I'm asking the same question. If you trade KK & Blanton, and one of our starters gets injured, or Worley is ineffective, what do you do? It's not like that's an unlikely scenario.

Wow, JBird. Great minds and all that stuff.

NEPP: Yea good point I guess. I guess it cmoes back to the whole strikeout/"stuff" thing that Kendrick doesnt possess and make me think he wouldn't be effective in short bursts.

NEPP: Yea good point I guess. I guess it cmoes back to the whole strikeout/"stuff" thing that Kendrick doesnt possess and make me think he wouldn't be effective in short bursts.

awh: I have no idea if his AAA numbers were a fluke. They could have been, since his numbers stunk the year before. Alternatively, he might be a perfectly good AAA pitcher, but not good enough to succeed at the major league level. I simply don't know.

I'm all with taking a risk. But saying you'd take the risk does not answer the question of what you'd do if the risk fails (or if some other starting pitcher gets injured). Seems to me that is an issue that needs to be considered before you actually take the risk.

BedBeard, LOL!

Not a Kendrick hater here but I was surprised to see in 2010, KK's era was 40th of the 45 pitchers in the NL who pitched over 162 innings. (Blanton was 42)

Gotta give him credit for the innings eaten, but I was surprised that a 4.73 ERA, which seems not much worse than mediocre was actually seriously substandard in the pitcher's year of 2010.

Wow...Anderson is really sitting 90-94 touching 97 on the gun again?

Good for him.

Durbin didn't have strikeout stuff as a starter either.

"He's a better starter than Durbin ever was so its likely he'd be a better reliever too."

NEPP, you have nothing on which to base that statement.

One does not necessarily follow the other.

There are lots of cases where starters, failed or not, couldn't transition to the pen.

Usually a pitcher's stuff plays up out of the bullpen either due to higher velocity, better protection through manager usage or less chance of tiring out due to shorter outings.

Who's to say KK wouldn't be a good reliever? There are plenty of examples of mediocre starters becoming good, even great, relievers.

Hell, Mo Rivera was a failed starter.

Note: I am NOT comparing KK to Mo Rivera...just emphasizing a point with a surprising example of the phenomenan.

pretty sure blanton will be kept until the deadline, KK will be in the pen and durbin won't be on the team anymore. he may be blowing smoke and he probably is but i doubt he moves him before the season

"There are lots of cases where starters, failed or not, couldn't transition to the pen."

I can't think of too many people in the game who were able to succeed as a starter but were unable to perform at least as well in the bullpen as they did as a starter at the time of their transition.

Usually, it's the exact opposite. Bad starters become decent relievers (Durbin). Half decent starters become good relievers (Park, Contreras). Good starters become excellent relievers (Smoltz, Eck).

Wow, NEPP, KK's SO/9 jumps from 4.0 to 4.7 when he comes out of the 'pen!

Even more WOW, his BB/9 goes from 2.58 to 4.74.

So far, that's slightly balanced out as his results in the 'pen have been mixed (lower ERA and WHIP).

However, his Babip has gone from .296 to .279 when he's relieved.

Is that sustainable? I don't know. He's a decent 5th starter. I'd keep him in that role.

Ryan Madson
Jose Contreras
Antonio Bastardo
Nelson Figueroa
JA Happ
JC Romero
Danys Baez
Brad Lidge

All were starters before being converted. That's our entire 2010 Bullpen basically.

Obviously Happ & Figueroa are both still starters but neither had any issues in the bullpen.

You're seriously making a counter argument based on a sample size of 19 innings?

Really? I mean, I thought we were having a serious discussion and you go and do something like that.

NEPP, so what?

I never stated there were not success stories.

You stated that there were "lots of cases" where it didnt happen. A look at any MLB level bullpen shows exactly the opposite.

Sure, there are guys that couldn't cut it as starters OR relievers but its pretty unusual for a guy who is an okay starter to completely flame out as a reliever. Overwhelmingly, relievers are former starters who see their stuff play up out of the bullpen. Yet you maintain that KK would do the exact opposite based off a microscopic sample size.

I mean, sure its possible but Occam's Razor suggests the opposite.

You know what? If Cliff Lee bumps KK from the rotation in favor of Blanton, I think that's a pretty nice upgrade in its own right. Blanton might seem to end with similar counting stats, butthe upside is definitely wih Blanton. He'd be a hell of a #5 starter.

Blanton will be the best 5th starter in baseball in all likelihood. Consider that on most teams, he'd be a decent to solid #3. Sure there will be some young phenom rookies that are breaking in as #5 starters but Blanton will be a #5 going into the season. That's pretty sweet.

If Blanton stays healthy and matches up against other teams #4 or #5 more often than not, you'd think he has a pretty good chance of setting a career high in wins.

Considering our average performance against no-name 5th starters who we've never seen before, I would be cautious with that type of prediction. I could see a lot of no-decision or 3-1 losses for Big Joe though.

~only half serious~

NEPP, I was just about to reference the small sample size.

But I still say "So what?".

KK is a decent, relatively inexpensive 5th starter who could be traded for prospects, maybe even some dudes.

I'd keep him in the 5th starter role - on another team.

Maybe I'd regret it, but I'd take the risk to shed the payroll.

KC just got a break on their payroll(not sure how much) with the Meche retirement[slated to make 12MM], so what could a KK/JB package get form KC in terms of prospects or a decent RH bat?

Crazy? Probably.

NEPP: Maybe. But all of these guys started out with much better K/9 numbers that Kendrick. Relief pitching is about specialization -- whether that specialty is striking batters out, inducing ground balls, or getting lefties out. Kendrick doesn't excel in any of these areas. And, even if there were such thing as a ROOGY -- which there isn't -- I do not consider a .258 career BAA to qualify as "excelling" in getting right-handers out.

KK's strikeouts might go up a tick if he pitched out of the bullpen, but he'd still be well below average in that area. A more plausible scenario is that, with fewer pitches, he'd be better able to sustain the bite on his sinker, resulting in significant improvement in his ground ball ratio. If he could do that, he could indeed be a viable reliever. Otherwise, I see him as one of the few pitchers whose stuff works better as a starter.

Blanton may very well become a very hot commodity on the trade market when teams start sustaining injuries to their starters.

bap, good post.

Besides, I posted my opinion above.

I'd trade him and take the risk with Worley.

I'm shocked that we haven't seen clout weigh in on JW's data point regarding KK's K/9. If nothing else, it debunks any conspiracy theories that JW=clout.

Projecting future performance for anyone is hard enough, but for a relief pitcher is next to impossible. Durbin could crap the bed next year for all we know. But if he does perform to his career norms, he's a valuable commodity, even at $2.45MM. If/when he's called upon, it's typically a somewhat higher leverage situation, and any semblance of consistency he could provide is valuable.

Sadly, "but he just had a good year, so he's due for a regression" just doesn't pass in negotiations or arbitration when it comes to relief pitchers.

The KK dynamic takes on a whole different dynamic due to the "plethora" of 5th starter options being kicked around. This could change considerably once ST starts due to a ton of different reasons (Worley sucks, Blanton is traded when someone else's starter goes down, etc.).

callison said: Not a Kendrick hater here but I was surprised to see in 2010, KK's era was 40th of the 45 pitchers in the NL who pitched over 162 innings. (Blanton was 42)

That KK was even on this list is what makes him valuable. Yes, the ERA is not very good (although his 85 ERA+ hardly Eatonesque), but it was good enough that he kept his place in the rotation, and he stayed healthy. Someone had to pitch those innings and he pitched a lot of them, for a playoff team no less.

There are 16 teams in the NL, and with five man rotations, that means you would expect to see 80 pitchers on this list. There are a variety of reasons this doesn't happen, including injuries, mid-season call ups, and general ineffectiveness. But you could make the case that each of the 45 pitchers that hit the innings threshold were more valuable to their team than any starter not on that list (with perhaps Strasburg being the only notable exception). That is why KK is valuable.

Trade both along with Domonic Brown for Ryan Braun.

Preacher, actually clout's 'absence' may prove the opposite. :)

Cool story on Matt Anderson - I'm rooting for him.

****Kendrick doesn't excel in any of these areas. ****

Neither did Durbin...until they converted him to middle relief.

I love voting day. Now I want to see Kyle's buzz-saw-sinker and the best 5 man rotation in the history of baseball. Four Aces and a Fifth of Kentucky Joe.

I could be wrong, but I'd guess this is JW's way of reigning in the undying support KK receives in some quarters.

best part of the Anderson story, he was "training under the supervision of trainer Chip Gosewisch, the brother of Phillies catching prospect Tuffy Gosewisch."

"Four Aces and a Fifth of Kentucky Joe"

There's a t-shirt in that somewhere.

Nice to see Del Unser's name again. Anderson must have a devastating second pitch that remains out of print.

My wish is to see everybody wearing that shirt in the fall of 2011. Along with a "Buzz-saw Kendrick" one.

Wow. This sounds incredible. Who will be the first to bitch that the money should have been put towards a rightfielder?

Seems like yesterday when they installed Phanavision at the Vet, seemed like such a big deal back then (think it was the '83 season). Same year they introduced the short-lived chicken hot dogs. Now that screen seems like as obselete as the rotary phone.

"Wow. This sounds incredible. Who will be the first to bitch that the money should have been put towards a rightfielder?"

Someone already commented on about a right handed hitter.

/not a big phan of big video screens at a baseball game.

Judging from the proposed size of the screen at least I'll have something to watch when I'm stuck mid-span on the Walt Whitman...

Come on BB. Think how cool the Septa train race will be on that thing.

Can they install some larger ball-count displays? Their harder to locate in that park than Ben Francisco.

Those bobble head races on that screen should sufficiently scare the living sh*t out of any kid under 5 years old.....

Another Kendrickite here (Kyleiac?). He offers more flexibility since he can be used as a starter, as well as for relief. May be tougher to find that starter capacity elsewhere, and it certainly isn't a stretch to think we may need a 6th SP sometime this season.

Just got around to reading the Matt Anderson article. Sounds like we have a new "El Pulpo?"

Although my personal favorite part of the article is the use of "prospect" and "Tuffy Gosewisch" in the same sentence.

Gotta pull for Anderson, especially if you've ever had the unfortunate circumstances to have to deal with a draining divorce.

What does Durbins wag look like? I gotta go with Kendrick, Steph LaGrossa is a smokeshow, gotta keep her around!

Bad Ass Board:

The Phillies have partnered with Sony Electronics' System Solutions Group and Daktronics to dramatically enhance the fans viewing experience at Citizens Bank Park. The $10 million upgrade includes the installation of a massive, new Daktronics HD-15 video display and the latest in Sony HD production technology.

When completed, the new Phillies HD display will be the largest in the National League and among the largest in the world - measuring 76 feet high and 97 feet wide, and totaling 7,372 square feet of digital space.

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