The Philadelphia Phillies announced today that they have signed Kyle Kendrick to a two-year contract extension worth $7.5 million through 2013. This news comes a month after the team avoided arbitration by signing Kendrick to a one-year deal worth $3.5 million—meaning that Kendrick will make about $4 million in 2013.
This move is a bit of a head-scratcher to me.
Sure, Kendrick posted a 3.22 ERA and had a successful year by the standards we've come to expect of him in 2011, but he was helped by a career-low .261 BABIP (batting average on balls in play). He also didn't really strike anyone out, as he registered only 4.63 strikeouts per nine innings. It seems like Kendrick had a pretty lucky year in 2011.
This is not to say that I don't think Kendrick is a useful piece of the Phillies' bullpen, but I just don't think he's a piece worth $7.5 million over the next two years. Predictions for Kendrick's ERA in 2012 are all somewhere around the 4.2-4.3 range. Given the general dominance of pitching throughout baseball these last couple seasons, that's about the stats I'd expect from a replacement-level player as a long man out of the bullpen.
It was also an unnecessary move to extend Kendrick now. As mentioned earlier, the Phillies had already agreed with him on a contract for 2012, so to extend their replacement-level long man a year before they had to seems like an odd move, in my opinion.
For a team that could use some extra money to shore up their left field situation, sign another utility infielder or even make a run at Roy Oswalt if his price drops more, this move just doesn't make sense to me.