2013 Phillies Report Card: Chad Durbin

As a birthday present to me this year, Ruben Amaro decided to sign Chad Durbin.

This was just under a week removed from the everlasting Delmon Young signing, capping off a week of deals that amounted to relatively little baseball money but relatively lots of anguish and gray-hairing. Durbin was inked to a one-year deal plus a club option, and was guaranteed $1.1 million with his $850k salary in ’13 and $250k buyout in ’14, plus games played incentives he never had a prayer of collecting.

Durbin had posted a decent ERA with mediocre peripherals in 2012, and in a vacuum, maybe the deal wasn’t so bad. But there were principles and circumstances surrounding this deal that made it an antagonist from the get-go.

Entering the season, the Phillies were nothing if not flush with young, reliever-profile pitchers on or capable of being on the 40-man roster, and looked to be able to fill their bullpen needs from within. Instead, Durbin was picked up, and that eventually cost Justin De Fratus a chance to break with the big league club after the spring.

Alright, so that’s not a huge deal. And besides, Durbin was probably only going to be used in lower-leverage situations, yeah? Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo and the newly-signed Mike Adams were all certain to have later-inning prerogative. Heck, even Phillippe Aumont had people thinking he was on the cusp of turning into a formidable relief presence. It looked like there were better options, and so all we were to expect of Durbin was mop-up duty.

But, naturally, things just don’t work that simply. Amaro’s multi-year contract fetish couldn’t be suppressed enough to forgo the unnecessary second-year option, and Durbin didn’t even need half of the first season to show just how unnecessary it was. Eight times in his second go-round with the Phillies did Durbin enter a game with the score tied or the Phillies within two runs (only once did he enter with a lead, and it was six runs). He allowed five of his own runs in addition to seven of 11 inherited runners. He allowed runs in five of his seven May appearances. He finished his season with a 1.063 OPS allowed. He was bad, and he was jettisoned.

I originally gave Durbin a D-, but after going through it all and feeling about as disenchanted as someone going stag on prom night, I’ve got to fall back to the pack with a big, fat F. Thanks for 2008, Chad.

Bill Michael Eric Ryan


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