Kendrick deal gives Rockies' rotation a veteran presence
Righty, 30, joins Colorado on one-year, $5.5 million contract
DENVER -- Right-hander Kyle Kendrick spent eight seasons with the Phillies, pitching in a difficult park and learning from some of the game's best. Maybe it'll turn out to be preparation for his next challenge.
Kendrick, 30, officially joined the Rockies on Wednesday on a one-year, $5.5 million contract and said he welcomes the challenge of helping a young staff. It's the way Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Jamie Moyer were there for him as he went 74-68 with a 4.42 ERA in 226 games (185 starts) with the Phillies.
"I was actually talking about that today -- I've always been the young guy in the rotation and on the team," Kendrick said. "I'm actually excited about that. I've learned a lot from guys. I'm excited to bring that to the Rockies, go about my business how I do it every day and talk to young guys if they ask questions."
Possessing a sinker mixed with a changeup, a four-seam fastball and a cutter, Kendrick has developed into a ground-ball pitcher. He's also dealt with difficult games, which were a given at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park (39-36, 4.39 ERA in 114 games). More often than not, he displayed durability -- a trait that can be lucrative, since his deal calls for a $500,000 bonus if he pitches 190 innings.
"I'm not going to strike out 20 guys a game, although I'll get my share," said Kendrick, who threw 199 innings last year while going 10-13 with a 4.61 ERA. "I'm going to pitch to contact, get early outs and pitch deep in the game. In that ballpark [Coors Field], with that offense, if you give up three or four runs in seven innings, a lot of times you're going win the game. I wasn't afraid of signing."
Rockies manager Walt Weiss was clear about his expectations.
"We are looking for guys that compete well and are out to win games, period, not get caught up in their ERA or some other statistics," Weiss said. "Kyle fits that bill."
Kendrick gives the Rockies' roster a third roster with extensive big league experience, along with lefty Jorge De La Rosa and righty Jhoulys Chacin. With two 24-year-olds penciled into the rotation in righty Jordan Lyles and lefty Tyler Matzek, Kendrick's presence reduces the need for immediate production from prospects such as Jon Gray and Eddie Butler or even recently acquired righty David Hale, who posted a 3.30 ERA in 45 games with the Braves last season.
But the Rockies needed the experience of Kendrick, who has surpassed 180 innings three times and has handled the headaches of pitching in hitter-friendly park.
"He's a pitcher, not just a thrower, not just a chucker," Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said. "When his stuff is working well and he's throwing well, he can work right through a lineup. There are times when we have seen him when his stuff is not quite as crisp and he's laboring, but he's savvy enough to keep damage to a minimum."
It's likely that Kendrick's signing signals there's little chance the Rockies' talks with the Mets about righty Dillon Gee will produce a deal, but Bridich said the team will always look for chances to add pitching.