Posted tagged ‘Kyle Kendrick’

Phillies Grab Cliff Lee

July 30, 2009
Cliff Lee (McIsaac, Getty)

Cliff Lee (McIsaac, Getty)

The trade of Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Lou Marson and Jason Knapp for the 2008 Cy Young award winner, Cliff Lee, and an outfielder, Ben Francisco, should easily stabilize the Phillies pitching rotation and almost make them a lock to come out of the National League and play for the World Series.  Most people wanted Roy Halladay as opposed to Cliff Lee, but the cost for Lee was significantly less and he brings almost as much as Halladay would have.  

Jason Donald, a shortstop, wasn’t going to crack the Phillies line-up for a few years because of Jimmy Rollins, making him dispensable.  Carlos Carrasco, a strong pitcher who lacks intensity and consistency, became expendable with the emergence of young pitching talent Kyle Drabek, Kyle Kendrick and JA Happ.  Jason Knapp is a hard throwing 18 year-old prospect that could develop as a solid reliever or even starting pitcher, but the Phillies could grab another one of those type prospects next season.  Finally, Lou Marson may have been the only player that could cause a hole in the Phillies organization.  Marson, a catcher, was the heir to the duties behind home plate for the Phillies.  Keep in mind; the Phillies have done a solid job filling the catcher hole with a middle talent veteran, Carlos Ruiz.  The Phillies will be all right at catcher without Marson.  From my perspective, the Phillies gave up nothing to get Cliff Lee, so this trade was a no brainer.  In fact, the Phillies kept their three best minor league prospects – Dominic Brown, Michael Taylor and Kyle Drabek. 

When I saw the Phillies put together the package for Cliff Lee with the Indians, I thought they were trying to get the Blue Jays to drop their asking price for Halladay.  I guess I was wrong OR the Blue Jays are very stubborn, pricing themselves out of the market for moving their high salaried player.  Regardless, the Phillies got a high level pitcher.

With the acquisition of Lee, this does bring up some issues with the Phillies current pitching rotation.  Obviously, Cole Hamels remains your number 1 starter with Cliff Lee assuming the number 2 spot.   This leaves a few pitchers for three spots – Pedro Martinez, JA Happ, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton, Rodrigo Lopez and Antonio Bastardo.  Looking at this list, Bastardo either goes back to the minors or pitches out of the pen.  Lopez can make his last start tonight and return to pitching out the pen or head to the triple A.  Moyer leads the Phillies in wins and is a solid veteran presence.  Joe Blanton has excellent experience and has pitched well.  JA Happ, a rookie, has pitched some impressive games and looks like he should be a rotation guy.  Who knows what to do with this rotation?  With a four man rotation heading into the playoffs, assuming that Pedro gets his form back, you send out Hamels, Lee, Martinez and Blanton and I guess if I needed a fifth starter, it would have to be JA Happ.  I think Jamie Moyer is just going to break down by the end of the season and players will figure out how to hit his junk.  Luckily, I am not the pitching coach or manager of the Phillies, so I won’t have to deal with these decisions.  However, I do get to complain or comment on the decision.

The Phillies went out and made a great move to help their ball club.  I look forward to all the great things to come this season.

Phillies’ Bullpen Issues

June 17, 2009
Phillies Reliever, Ryan Madson

Phillies Reliever, Ryan Madson

During the Phillies fantastic run to the World Series championship last season, the bullpen would always deliver.  Brad Lidge converted all of his save opportunities and Ryan Madson was regarded as one of the best set-up men in the league.  Others were dependable, including J.C. Romero, Clay Condrey and Chad Durbin.  Not sure what is going on this season.

Lidge has blown 6 saves before his stint on the disabled list with a sprained knee.  Prior to coming to the Phillies, he was a head case with the Houston Astros and consistently had problems being a consistent closer.  We thought this all changed after his marvelous season last year.  The change of scenery, the winning attitude and some of the old-school type of ball players on the Phillies definitely helped him out.  What’s going on this year?  Has he returned to the head case he once was?  The team hasn’t changed much and his role didn’t change.  Maybe added pressure to repeat?  Maybe players know how to hit him now?  Or, perhaps last season was an illusion/aberration?  Our Dad thinks the entire Phillies team was an illusion.  Hopefully, Lidge’s stint on the DL and his rehab assignment will help him get back to 2008 form.  We need him.

In the last week, Kyle Kendrick and Clay Condrey have given up multiple runs in late innings.  Both times, I think they were each given the ball by Charlie Manuel and were told something like this:  “It’s your game to win, there is no else who is going to pitch.”  They both blew it.  Even dependable Ryan Madson, forced into a closer’s role has blown 2 saves. 

The once dependable Phillies bullpen has become my biggest concern.  The inconsistencies of starting pitching can be masked by a strong bullpen.  This current lot of Phillies relievers better get their act together or we can stop talking about the playoffs, let alone a repeat.

Happ to the Rotation

May 21, 2009
Phillies Pitcher J.A. Happ

Phillies Pitcher J.A. Happ

Finally, J.A. Happ gets his shot in the rotation.  This should have happened out of spring training.  He was the better pitcher than Chan Ho Park, but lacked experience.  To quote a favorite PhilaTude movie, The Secret of My Success, “how can I get any experience until I get a job that GIVES me experience?”  In essence, Park was handed the 5th spot.  My theory is that no matter how well Happ pitched, it was Park’s spot no matter what.  Now that Happ has pitched well out of the bullpen AND Park has struggled, Happ gets his shot.  I watched Happ pitch in person last Friday night in the 12 inning marathon against the Nats.  He looked good.

Here’s what I don’t get.  Last season, the Phillies couldn’t fill the 5th starter role.  They tried Kyle Kendrick, Ryan Madsen and a few others.  Knowing this was a problem they claimed to sign Park to have him compete for the job.  I think they expected him to be the 5th started all along.  Why?  I would have signed a pitcher with starting experience, stick him in the bullpen just in case something happens to your inexperienced starting pitcher.  It should have been the other way around – Park to the bullpen, Happ to the rotation.  The Phillies now have it right.  It took them almost 40 games to figure it out, but better late than never.

You heard here first, but I think Happ will be a solid rotation guy.