Red Sox: Kyle Kendrick could provide valuable depth
The Boston Red Sox signed veteran right-handed pitcher Kyle Kendrick as a reclamation project, but with health concerns among the starting rotation, he could be more important than initially thought.
The signing flew under the radar as part of a collection of minor league deals that included more high-profile names. Now, more than a month later, Kyle Kendrick has inserted himself into the Spring Training discussion. In three games (two starts) this spring, he is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA, eight strikeouts, one walk, and a 0.67 WHIP.
It’s hard to put weight into Spring Training stats, they’re generally meaningless and not a true indicator of future performance. Want proof? Rick Porcello had a 9.77 ERA last spring before going on to win the CY Young Award.
Regardless, the performance Kendrick put together Sunday afternoon is worthy of recognition. In four innings pitched, Kendrick held the Braves hitless, sacrificing just a lone walk and collecting one strikeout. More importantly, he needed just 46 pitches to retire the 13 batters he faced.
Kendrick has now thrown more innings (9.0) than any other Red Sox pitcher in camp, vaulting himself to the top of the discussion for starting depth. He spoke to the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman about his performance following Sunday’s game.
"“I understand the position that I’m in — results kind of do matter for me, so I just want to go out there and show them that I’m healthy, that’s the main thing and throw well, put up some good results.”"
David Price has been shut down to mend a sore elbow, Drew Pomeranz and Steven Wright are slowly recovering from their own arm issues, and Eduardo Rodriguez is out to prove that the knee injury suffered in Winter League won’t have the same disastrous effect it did last spring. Given the abundance of health concerns among the Red Sox’ starting pitchers, Kendrick seems to be first in line to draw attention as a backup.
He last pitched in the MLB with the Colorado Rockies in 2015. He posted a 6.32 ERA in 142.1 innings pitched that season, allowing a league-high 33 home runs. According to Kendrick, he never felt healthy during the season and saw his numbers falter as a result.
At 32-years-old, he is surely a reclamation project, but one that could pay off in the long run. We’ve seen assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister turn around the careers of forgotten pitchers (look to Rich Hill’s success in 2015 as a prime example of his development abilities). For Kendrick, the opportunity to salvage his career under the tutelage of Bannister was the main reason he sought out his minor league deal with the Red Sox.
The experiment could pay dividends for the club down the line. With 212 major league starts, Kendrick has far more experience than any of the team’s other minor league pieces. In the case of emergency, he’s beginning to look like their best bet.
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Regardless of the stage, starts like Sunday will go a long way in proving that Kendrick can be looked at as a viable option on the depth chart.