Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Money Talks

Jamie Moyer versus Kyle Kendrick. Old goat versus young buck. Withering veteran versus percolating youngster. This is the battle for the Philadelphia Phillies coveted 5th spot in the 2010 rotation. Just last season Grand Pappy Moyer was booted from the rotation due to a horrendous ERA and maddening inconsistency. That was then followed up with 3 offseason surgeries. KK spent most of last season toiling in Triple A attempting to develop his secondary pitches. Now it's spring training and Kendrick has sparkled through 2 Grapefruit League outings (5 innings, no runs) and Moyer has yet to see official box score action (only appeared in B games). However, the elder statesmen of Major League Baseball at 47 years old is set to make $8 million this season and that speaks volumes.
"I'd like to see Kyle in the regular games because he's the guy that's got to win the job. Really, in my mind he's got to win the job. And second of all, Jamie is coming off (three) surgeries, so I'd rather put him in a less intense environment and let him get his feet on the ground. He'll be back in a regular game soon. I think for me, Jamie comes in with a big track record. You can't just go away from that. What did he win last year? Twelve? He won 16 the year before. He's got a tremendously long track record of being a winning pitcher. Even when he turned 40." ~Phillies Pitching Coach Rich Dubee

My translation- Kyle will only be the 5th starter is Jamie breaks. He's the "proven" commodity and therefore gets the upperhand no matter how poorly he pitches in spring.

Poor Kendrick, just when he found confidence in himself, finds himself in a no-win situation. Moyer is a cult figure in baseball today because of his age, but Amaro's decision to sign him to a 2-year deal has handcuffed the team. In pro sports money talks, and $8M is alotta of talking. Kendrick has minor league options left and that's his likely destination unless he earns a bullpen slot.


Andrew said...

I think KK will somehow get 20 starts this season. Either due to the 5th spot, Moyer breaking down, or some other injury replacement, we will be seeing KK once again.

Corey said...

based on the title and picture i'm assuming that you think moyer's salary is the deciding factor or at least a major factor in who starts the season as the #5 starter. i disagree. i don' think money has anything to do with it. if saving money was the objective the phils would not have let moyer get so many (horrible) innings last season, triggering many bonuses for this season. and they have a track record of "eating" the salary of under-performing players recently (eaton, jenkins). the phillies have no money committed to moyer after this season so i doubt that a team with WS aspirations would let 5% of their payroll determine 20% of their starting rotation.

GM-Carson said...

Yes, I think money is a deciding factor in this situation.

1- if Moyer was making a great deal less money ($1-2M, then Dubee wouldn't be so quick to proclaim him as the man in the lead for the 5th spot).

2- the Phils were pratically forced to keep Moyer in the rotation last year because Kendrick wasn't doing all that well at Lehigh Valley until later in the season and other options would have been just as bad if not worse than Moyer (Capenter, Carrasco, nobody).

3- Eaton was hated, Jenkins was pretty much a nonentity...Moyer is a hero. There would be backlash for releasing him, whereas Eaton's release brought joy, and Jenkins brought indifference.

Dr. Steve said...

Am I the only one who remembers Kyle Kendrick as... terrible?

GM-Carson said...

Kendrick was good as a rookie then the league figured him out because he really on had one pitch- sinking fastball. However, he's been working on his other pitches and reports are that they're much improved. He's also apparently been working out and has a new mental approach to the game. I don't think he's going to be anything great, but I think at this point he's a better bet than Moyer.

Corey said...

carson, i don't get it. none of your three points have anything to do with favoring moyer over kendrick because of money. the three factors you did mention - dubee's proclamation that moyer has a "big track record," the fact that kendrick sucked last year, and moyer's status as a popular player with fans and teammates - are important and more tangible than the idea that he'll keep his place based primarily on the size of his paycheck.

and regardless of how you perceive eaton and jenkins, the fact is the phillies didn't let a big salary deter them from replacing those players. it didn't stop them from sending brett myers to the minors, either. the phils recent track record suggests they wouldn't favor a less productive player because he makes more money, so i'm ready to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one.

GM-Carson said...

If Kendrick has a great spring and Moyer only mediocre or even bad, but still gets the starting gig, what does that tell you?

Also, if Moyer gets the nod and stinks, how long do the Phils stay with him before they admit it was a mistake?

Corey said...

it tells me many things, but just to name a few:

1) spring training doesn't mean shit
2) the phillies would rather go with a proven major league winner than a guy with mediocre AAA success and a good march
3) the phillies think they have a better chance at winning with jamie moyer than kyle kendrick

all of those make more sense than "moyer makes more money."

if i had to bet i would say that KK would have a better year than moyer and would probably prefer him in the rotation, but their are many reasons why moyer should get the opportunity and none of them, as i can see it, have to do with salary. i've given examples of the exact opposite from the phils, i'm just asking for one decent reason why this situation is different and they would keep moyer just because he makes more money.

GM-Carson said...

I agree that Phils have shown they're not scared to cut big salaried dead weight in recent years, but in the case of Jamie Moyer I just don't see it happening. Now, I think Jamie still has use as a long reliever and a guy that can spot start when one of the regular guys needs an extra day off or a turn around the rotation. However, plugging him into the rotation again this year I think we'll see a mid-5 ERA, which just isn't acceptable.

GM-Carson said...

Moyer pitched 3 scoreless innings in his B game today.

Bob D said...

Moyer if healthy will likely be the #5 guy. KK will likely stay in AAA and be first callup when needed. And it will be WHEN needed since I have not seen a staff go thru a whole year w/o a need for a 6th starter wheather injury or a double header. KK had a bad 1 1/2 years but for the last 1/2 year he has been good. So I figure this to be a win win situation. Also dont count out a trade happening during spring training there has been one each of the last few years.

GM-Carson said...

Maybe I should note that I do like Jamie Moyer and if in the 5th spot of the rotation I will root for him.