Red Sox re-assign Kyle Kendrick to minor league camp
Prior to today’s game, the Boston Red Sox re-assigned RHP Kyle Kendrick to minor league camp, solidifying their pitching staff.
Kyle Kendrick will start the year at AAA, but he might not be in the minors for too long. One could argue that he had the best spring of any player on the Red Sox, going 3-0 with a 2.17 ERA, 29 strikeouts and just four walks in 29 innings. For a guy that hasn’t thrown in the majors in two years, its safe to say that he impressed everyone with his performance. Based on that success, he’s vaulted himself up to the top of the club’s pitching depth chart, making himself the first line of defense in the case of an injury.
If the last month has proven anything, it’s that injuries to starting pitchers are far too familiar. The Red Sox are already down a starter with David Price expected to begin the season on the DL and miss up to the first month and a half of the season. Their current number five starter, Drew Pomeranz, started the spring late because of a sore elbow and left one of his three starts with left triceps tightness. Given his 9.00 Spring Training ERA, the club will be monitoring him closely in the coming weeks.
With the injury to Price and confirmation that Kendrick will, in fact, start the season with Pawtucket, the Red Sox rotation now projects to start the season in this order:
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With a rotation that is far from completely healthy, the Red Sox stand to benefit from a day off between their first two regular season games. Should Pomeranz need extra time to increase his workload and pitch counts to prepare for the season, the club can work with a four-man rotation the first time through the order. Instead of pitching his first game on April 8 against the Tigers, he would start the year on the 12th against Baltimore. If the situation with Pomeranz incurs a setback or if any starter suffers an injury, expect Kendrick to be the first man up to replace them on the roster.
The 32-year old last pitched in the majors in 2015 as a member of the Rockies but spent eight seasons with the Phillies prior to that. Lifetime, he’s 81-81 with a 4.81 ERA. He might not be the rotation mainstay that he was in Philadelphia, however, there is value in stashing him in the minors.
Starting Kendrick at AAA gives the Red Sox the opportunity to continue evaluating his performance against serious competition. For all the success he had in the spring, his nine-year body of work in the MLB suggests that he isn’t the type of pitcher to maintain a sub-2.50 ERA. More so, unlike some players on minor league contracts that can opt out and find a spot in the big leagues before the start of the season, Kendrick has to remain with the club for at least the first two and a half months.
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His first opt-out date is on June 15, with a second chance to exit his contract on August 15. Unless he spends considerable time in the MLB prior to those dates, it seems unlikely that he would choose to exercise either option. Essentially, Kendrick provides the Red Sox with the security of having an in-house insurance policy on their starting rotation.