The Phillies locked up their final arbitration eligible player today by signing pitcher Kyle Kendrick to a one-year, $2.45 million dollar deal. Ben Francisco signed this past Saturday as well. His contract is also for one-year and totals $1.175 million.
To start the year, Kendrick will wind up in one of two places. If Joe Blanton is traded, Kendrick will be the favorite to win the fifth starters spot. If Blanton stays, Kendrick can take over the long-man job in the bullpen that was vacated by the still unsigned Chad Durbin.
The nice part about avoiding arbitration for the Phillies is having less drama going into Spring Training. This is especially true for Kendrick, who seemed constantly conflicted about his role with the team in traveling back and forth to the minors
The only thing Kendrick has to worry about now is pitching. This kind of focus, without the unnecessary distraction of a hearing, is exactly what Kendrick needs to be successful.
It has been a busy off-season for Kendrick. He got married to Stephanie LaGrossa, bringing the second Survivor contestant into the Phillies family. Heidi Hamels is the other former Survivor. And now, Kendrick can add "millionaire" to his resume.
But the best part of his new-found stability is that Kendrick will probably not fall for any more "you have been traded to Japan" pranks.