Kendrick has been a serviceable starter during his time in the majors, going 74-68 with a 4.42 ERA with the Phillies since 2007. After going 10-13 with a 4.61 ERA in 199.1 innings in 2014, however, the Phillies didn't have much interest in bringing him back and Kendrick signed a $5.5 million deal with the Rockies. Among 88 qualified starters, Kendrick ranked 83rd in ERA and 86th in strikeout rate. I'm not sure that's going to add up to success at Coors Field, but considering the Rockies have used 26 different starting pitchers the past two years, they will just be happy if Kendrick can take the ball 30 times.
Still, usually the Opening Day start goes to your best pitcher from the previous season, not an innings eater signed from another team. A few years ago, I wrote about the worst Opening Day starters from 2000-2010, in honor of Luke Hochevar starting for the Royals in 2011 despite a 5.60 career ERA at the time.
The "worst" Opening Day starter in that span? I went with Dewon Brazelton of the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2005, who drew the assignment with a career record of 8-25 with a 6.38 ERA. (He'd had a 4.77 ERA in 2004.) As I wrote then, he actually pitched pretty well an Opening Day, matched up against Roy Halladay, allowing three runs in 7 1/3 innings with no walks and four strikeouts, but took the loss. It would be the last good outing of his major league career. He made seven more starts, allowing 31 runs, and then made 12 relief appearances, giving up runs in 11 of them.
Anyway, if Hochevar gets "worst" honors for 2011, what about, 2012, 2013 and 2014?
2012: Jake Arrieta, Orioles: He had a 5.05 ERA in 2011 and served up 21 home runs in 119.1 innings. Not surprisingly, the Orioles had the worst rotation ERA in the majors in 2011. Arrieta got the win on Opening Day with seven scoreless innings, but would finish 2012 with a 6.20 ERA. The Orioles ended up winning 93 games, even though Wei-Yin Chen was the only starter who ended up making more than 20 starts.
2013: Vance Worley, Twins: He had gone 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA for the Phillies in 2012, but the Twins' rotation had a 5.40 ERA in 2012, so he immediately became the staff ace. He would go 1-5 with a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts as Twins' starters would go on to post an MLB-worst 5.21 ERA.
2014: Tanner Scheppers, Rangers: With Yu Darvish on the DL with stiffness in his neck, Scheppers was the surprise starter. True, he had a 1.88 ERA in 2013, but that came in relief. He had never started a major league game before receiving Opening Day honors. He lasted four starts and was injured, sort of setting the stage for a disastrous season for the Rangers.