Update - 2:58 p.m.
With Ben Francisco's $1.175 million deal and Kendrick's $2.45 million deal, the Phillies now have $164.825 million guaranteed to 21 players next season. At this point, righthander Joe Blanton seems sure to be dealt, since the Phillies do not want to have $11 million locked up in starting pitching beyond their top four. If money were not an issue, it would make sense to have Blanton remain at No. 5 and Kendrick provide depth in case of injury. But money is always an issue.
Kendrick figures to compete with Vance Worley for the fifth spot in the rotation. Keep in mind that Kendrick still has options, so the Phillies could send him to the minors without exposing him to waivers, although they would still owe him the entire $2.45 million.
If Blanton remains, Kendrick and Worley would be among a group of players competing for the last couple of spots in the Phillies bullpen. Worley would seem to project as more of a reliever than Kendrick becaues of his off-speed stuff, but as of the winter meetings Ruben Amaro Jr. was saying he still looked at both as starters.
Subtract Blanton's $8.5 million salary and the $11 million the Phillies received from the Astros as part of the Roy Oswalt deal and the number drops to $145.325 million, which is more in line with what they spent last year. That said, the Phillies may have used some of Oswalt's $11 million to defray the 2010 payroll, and there is no guarantee they are able to unload all of Blanton's salary.
Update - 2:48 p.m.
The Phillies have avoided arbitration with Kyle Kendrick, with the sides agreeing on a $2.45 million deal, the club has announced.
Update - 2:14 p.m.
Agreements between teams and players are rolling in. The latest notable contract with regards to the Phillies and Kyle Kendrick comes between the Yankees and Phil Hughes, who agreed to a $2.7 million deal.
Hughes has 3 years, 114 days of service time compared with Kendrick's 2.159, but Hughes also spent most of 2009 as a reliever.
Hughes Career: 103 G, 57 GS, 31-18, 369.0 IP, 4.19 ERA, 105 ERA+, 7.9 K/9, 3.2 BB/9
Kendrick Career: 93 G, 83 GS, 35-24, 483.2 IP, 4.69 ERA, 92 ERA+, 4.2 K/9, 2.6 BB/9
Earlier we said that John Lannan's $2.75 million agreement with the Nationals provided a good idea of the absolute ceiling on Kendrick's 2011 earning potential. We still think the Phillies will be hesitant to go much north of $2 million.
Today is "I'll-Show-You-Mine-If-You-Show-Me-Yours" Day in Major League Baseball, when player agents and team representatives gaze into each other's eyes and reveal their desired salaries for the 2011 season.
Yes, it's time to swap arbitration figures, which is pretty much the equivalent of writing a number on a piece of paper and then sliding it across a wooden conference table to another party.
Barring a last minute deal, the Phillies will engage in the act with Kyle Kendrick at some point today. The righthander is their only remaining arbitration case, with Ben Francisco having agreed to a one-year deal last week.
Thanks to some comparable players who have signed contracts, both this offseason and in the past couple, we have a pretty good idea what Kendrick should end up signing for. But first, a quick refresher on this unique process:
1) From the time he breaks into the major leagues until the time he becomes a free agent (after six full seasons in the bigs), a player's salary is based on a combination of service time and performance.
2) In most cases, a player has no control over the salary his club assigns him in his first three seasons in the majors. He starts at the major league minimum of $400,000. Most clubs award a modest raise in each of those first three seasons. Kendrick, for example, made $480,000 last season.
3) Players have some control over their salary once they become eligible for salary arbitration. Most players become eligible after three full seasons. But a select few qualify with a designation that is known as a "Super-Two." These players have more service time than most of the other players in their class. Kendrick, for example, logged full seasons in 2008 and 2010. But he also spent most of 2007 with the team, breaking into the majors in June of that year. That left him with 2 years, 159 days of service. A major league baseball "year" is 172 days. So Kendrick, with nearly three full years of experience, qualified.
4) Back in December, the Phillies offered Kendrick arbitration, which guaranteed him a contract for 2011. They could have declined to offer him arbitration, but he would have become a free agent.
5) In early January, both sides separately decided on a number they thought Kendrick deserved to earn in 2011 and filed that number with the league and player's association. Until today, neither side officially knows the identity of the other side's number. In the meantime, both sides attempt to work out a deal on their own, whether it is for one season or a multiple seasons.
6) Today, the two sides swap numbers. They'll continue to work to hammer out an agreement. But if they fail to reach one, the case will go before a panel of judges in early February. At that point, the judges will pick one of the two numbers -- the player's number or the club's number. It is an either/or proposition.
Now that we have that out of the way...
The arbitration process is shrouded in secrecy, but the Phillies should be trying to sign Kendrick for around $2 million.
We don't have to look too far into the past to find some cases that should set some parameters for a deal.
Earlier this week, the Detroit Tigers agreed to a $2.3 million deal with pitcher Armando Galarraga, who was in his first season of arbitration. Meanwhile, the Nationals agreed to a $2.75 million deal with John Lannan.
Here is how those three pitchers stack up in their careers:
Kendrick: 83 GS, 35-24, 483.2 IP, 4.69 ERA, 92 ERA+, 1.425 WHIP, 1.2 HR/9, 2.6 BB/9, 4.2 SO/9
Galarraga: 78 GS, 23-26, 475.1 IP, 4.58 ERA, 97 ERA+, 1.361 WHIP, 1.4 HR/9, 3.5 BB/9, 5.7 K/9
Lannan: 95 GS, 28-38, 566.1 IP, 4.10 ERA, 103 ERA+, 1.411 WHIP, 1.0 HR/9, 3.3 BB/9, 4.6 K/9 (458-2.75)
Galarraga and Kendrick have pretty identical numbers. Galarraga has three full years in the bigs, compared with Kendrick's two, but the two players are only really separated by 32 days of service time (Kendrick - 2.159, Galarraga - 3.019).
They've made about the same number of starts with the same number of innings pitched. Kendrick has a better record, but Galaragga has marginally better peripherals.
Lannan, meanwhile, has significantly more service time (at least with regard to first-year eligible players), a significantly lower ERA and ERA+, and nearly a half a season more starts and innings than Kendrick.
So when you look at this year's market as a guide, $2.75 million would seem to be the absolute ceiling for a pitcher like Kendrick.
Galarraga's deal would seem to represent a fair price, particularly when compared with arbitration cases in recent offseasons.
Prior to last season, Rangers righty Scott Feldman signed a $2.425 deal with the Rangers. He had asked for $2.9 million, while Texas had countered with $2.025 million.
Prior to 2009, Brian Bannister and the Royals settled on a one-year, $1.7375 million to after exchanging figures of $2.025 million and $1.45 million.
Here are how those players stacked up with Kendrick heading into theri first arbitration year:
Kendrick (2.159 service time): 35-24, 4.69 ERA, 92 ERA+, 483.2 IP, 4.2 SO/9, 2.6 BB/9,
Bannister (2.158 ST prior to 2009) 30-38, 4.79 ERA, 93 ERA+, 538.2 IP, 5.1 K/9, 2.9 BB/9
Feldman (3.091 ST prior to 2010): 24-21, 4.58 ERA, 100 ERA+, 430.2 IP, 5.0 K/9, 3.4 BB/9
The Phillies could argue that Bannister's track record heading into arbitration is nearly identical to Kendrick's. Kendrick's representatives will likely try to argue the merits of his winning record, and his contributions to a team that has made the playoffs in each of the four seasons in which he has pitched for them, and could argue that Feldman is a better comparison.
Which could be why the two sides have yet to agree to a deal. If Kendrick is asking $3.0 million, and the Phillies are offering $1.9 million, that could be a significant gap to bridge. History suggests they wind up settling for somewhere around Galaragga's deal. But the Phillies could be hesitant to go that high for a pitcher who isn't even in the rotation at this point. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. We should get a better idea once the figures are revealed.