Philadelphia is surrounded by fives. Philadelphia is the 5th largest market in America. Soon to be former Eagle Quarterback Donovan McNabb wore number five. So did Phillies “legend” Pat “the Bat” Burrell. Today I am writing about the only number five of concern. The fifth spot in the Phillies rotation. The season starts in roughly a week, but in all acutality, the Phillies can get away with a four man rotation until April 24th barring any injuries or weather issues. Currently, there are only two in house options: Kyle Kendrick and Jamie Moyer.
Both are having spectacular springs. Kendrick, who has been picking newly added ace Roy Halladay’s brain, is pitching to the tune of a 1.37 ERA in five (yes 5) games and four starts. He is currently second on the team in innings pitched behind Hamels at 19.2 innings pitched. While Kendrick’s ERA is very nice for spring training, his numbers in general are not as impressive. His Strikeout to Walk Ratio is 7 to 4. Groundout to Fly Ball Ratio is just over 1. He leads the team with SB allowed with 3. So where I think Kendrick can still develop into a quality starting pitcher, 2010 may not be his time.
Moyer, on the other hand, has a miniscule 0.77 ERA in two starts for the fightins. He also has a amazing 12 Ks. Neither of which should really estimate what Moyer could do during the regular season consider the majority of batters faced in spring training are all young kids trying to make a roster and are used to seeing 91-99 MPH heaters, not the devastating 80 MPH BBs that Moyer has in his aresnal. We all know that Moyers success hinges primarily on the umpire behind the plate. If Moyer gets that extra inch or two, he will have a good outing.
Right now the only free agent options to sign are Chad Gaudin and Noah Lowry. Both would be relatively cheap and could be signed to MiLB contracts. I imagine both wouldn’t be ready to start until the end of April, but as we already know, that is not much of a problem. Yes, there are a lot of starting pitchers available that could be signed with better resmues, i.e. Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and so on, but of those options, which would sign for as cheaply as either of those two would.
Of course RAJ (Ruben Amaro Jr.) could also trade for a fifth starter, but there are only so many pitchers that would be available for trade. Outside of bad contracts or players who are out of options and won;t make their roster, who else is available? Who out there could be better than Moyer and make it worth it for the Phillies to pay Jamie Moyer eight million dollars to pitch in relief or worse, not at all? Not much in my opinion.
So ultimately, I agree with Todd Zolecki over at The Zo Zone (http://zozone.mlblogs.com/). The Phillies have their number 5. And he wears number 50. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I would expect Jamie Moyer to be the Phillies fifth starting pitcher to open 2010. Whether he finishes 2010 there is a question for another day, but yes the ageless wonder will be our fifth starter. I wonder if Moyer’s jersey number is prophetic to how long he plans to pitch until. 50?
Everyday millions of Phillies fans scour the internet, radio, and print media to find out just exactly who the Phillies are looking to acquire before the trade deadline at the end of the month. The same fans find a name or two and then ask themselves the same question: Why hasn’t it happened yet? There are a few, but very good, reasons why Ruben Amaro, Jr. and company haven’t produced the goods. Yet.
Reason number one. The high quality type of pitcher the Phillies have stated they are interested in is either on the DL or on a team not out of it yet or is selected to be an All-Star for their respective team. Every team must be represented at the All Star Game. If you eliminate a teams only representitve, you throw the whole roster off. Some people get shipped in, some get shipped out. So don’t really expect any big names before the All Star break ends.
I think any fan of any team would want a Jake Peavy or a Brandon Webb if made available. The truth of the matter is neither will be moved before the end of the month. Both are sidelined with injury and may only have one or two rehab starts in before the end of the month.
Finally, teams, like the Astros, hold on to the slimmest margin that they can make a run in the second half and make the postseason. The only teams who are really out of it at this point are the Indians, Padres, and Nationals. There are a lot of fringe teams with great starters, but they are likely to hold on to those players until the end of the month when the have to make the decision to go for it or not.
My second reason is this. Ruben is in no hurry just purely based on the fact that there currently is no pressure. We have all read about how the Phillies starters have the worst ERA in the NL. Over the last two weeks (13 Games), Phillies starter have thrown 79.1 innings. That averages out to just over 6 innings per start. Phillies starters have only surrendered 34 runs in that span. That is under 3 runs per game with an ERA of 3.85. So the starters have taken some pressure off of Ruben & Co. for now. I have no doubt that the Phillies will be working the phones scouring the field up until the deadline has come and gone for that one starter. That is the only pressing need that HAS to be done before the end of the month. A reliever and some bench bats could be found in August.