Hey, did you hear? The Phillies are supposed to win the National League East and quite probably reach the World Series again. But did you know they're still one starting pitcher short of a full rotation? HotStove.com posed this question to four Phillies-centric bloggers:
Jamie Moyer is currently slated as the Phillies’ fifth starter, although Kyle Kendrick, Jose Contreras, and Ryan Vogelsong are also contenders. Who would be your choice to round out the Phillies’ staff in 2010?
Kendrick gets three votes, while Justin Klugh says, "I say give Moyer the ball and see what he can do with it. Kendrick’s not going anywhere and he can only benefit from Halladay’s tutelage."
There's no right answer here.
Except it's probably not Moyer. At best, he's good for an ERA around 5 (his 3.71 ERA in 2008 was something of a fluke).
I'm not sure it's Kendrick, either. He pitched well for the Phillies last season, but that was only 26 innings and Kendrick still has a career mark of 3.9 strikeouts per nine innings. Essentially, it's almost impossible to survive in the majors with that sort of strikeout rate ... oh, and Kendrick's Triple-A rate? Also 3.9 per nine innings.
Sure, there are signs. Kendrick's a ground-ball pitcher and in the minors he was exceptionally stingy with the home runs.
Ryan Vogelsong? He had a 5.68 career ERA before going to Japan for three seasons.
Jose Contreras? Meh.
The Phillies don't have any hot prospects coming up.
Like I said, there's no right answer.
No single right answer, anyway. In the old days, a manager might have spotted both Moyer and Kendrick, depending on the evening's opposition. But that sort of thing just isn't done anymore. Everyone has to have a role and "spot starter" and "swing man" just aren't on the list.
So who wins the job that is on the list? I don't have any idea. But it doesn't matter much. Whoever has the job in April won't have it in June.