Phillies Tender Contracts to Arbitration-Eligible Players, Sign Frandsen

The Phillies announced this evening that they will tender contracts to Antonio Bastardo, Kyle Kendrick, John Mayberry Jr. and Ben Revere, and signed utility infielder Kevin Frandsen to a one-year, $900 thousand deal with incentives.

So, welcome back to 2013, just with Marlon Byrd. Barring trades of any of the aforementioned players Рwhich, of course, could still happen Рthe team currently looks to be eschewing chances to upgrade and instead banking (yet again) on hopes of resurgence or rebound.

Bastardo, 28, was having a successful season in relief before being suspended as a result of the Biogenesis investigation. His strikeout rate dipped rather severely from previous years, down to 9.9 from a raucous 14.0 in 2012 and 10.9 in 2011. He likely won’t cost much (estimated here at $2 million) and should be a bargain even if 2013 is the new norm.

Kendrick’s return, in doubt just a couple months ago, became certain once Tyler Cloyd was lost to waivers and John Lannan elected free agency. Kendrick started strong in what looked to be a continuation from his solid finish in 2012, but that all evaporated into a puff of smoke that smelled like a 6.91 post-All-Star ERA and a shoulder injury. He’ll make more than he’s worth, but the Phillies lack Major League-ready starters and don’t seem to be in a rush to sign any of the overpriced free agents. For now. I still expect Kendrick to get a contract extension offer before the spring.

Mayberry is the most puzzling inclusion. Since the start of 2012, JMJ has hit .237/.294/.393 in 863 plate appearances. Among the 190 players with 800+ PA since the start of that season, Mayberry’s .687 OPS is tied with Rajai Davis for 167th. That about says it. Mayberry is one of five outfielders now on the active roster, if you include Darin Ruf, and is the only one aside from Revere with meaningful experience in center field. That may explain his retention, but Davis is currently a free agent who probably won’t make Mayberry’s salary. Just a thought.

Revere was a no-brainer. He’ll be the starting center fielder on opening day, and is a capable fielder who, hopefully, can hit like he was hitting before his foot betrayed him last season. Frandsen also continues the train of sameness. He, like Kendrick, also stunk post-ASB, hitting just .192/.226/.272 in 159 plate appearances. He is likely the second bat option off the bench, behind Mayberry, so there’s that.

It’s unsurprising, but also uninspired. We just have to keep hoping for more changes, even as the odds they happen seem to dwindle.

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