Phillies Sign Chad Gaudin to a Minor League Deal

Chris Branch with the news:

Chad Gaudin spent the 2013 serving both out of the starting rotation and out of the bullpen for the Giants. He spent April and May in the ‘pen, posting a 2.05 ERA in 30 and two-thirds innings. The Giants then moved him into the rotation at the beginning of June. He exited his fourth start early after getting hit by a line drive. He missed two starts and returned in early July, making eight more starts until carpal tunnel syndrome in his right wrist ended his season. Overall, in 12 starts, he posted a 3.38 ERA with 60 strikeouts and 24 unintentional walks in 66 and one-third innings.

Gaudin’s ERA retrodictors (xFIP: 4.00; SIERA: 3.99) were a bit less friendly than his ERA for three reasons: the right-hander benefited from a slightly deflated BABIP (.278; career: .305), a low home run rate per fly ball (5.8 percent; career: 9.7 percent), and pitching half his innings in one of baseball’s more pitcher-friendly parks (home ERA: 1.69; away ERA: 4.41). Prior to last season, Gaudin had finished with an ERA above 4.50 in four consecutive seasons. As much as we would like to believe his 2013 results are easily replicated, they won’t be, unfortunately.

Still, Gaudin makes for a good depth signing for the Phillies because they risk virtually nothing by bringing him into camp. If he gets torched in spring training, then the Phillies can simply cut him at any point before they pack up the bats and balls and head bath north to Philadelphia near the end of March. If he shows some promise, he can soak up some low-leverage multi-inning appearances or make a spot start here and there as needed.

Additionally, the Phillies don’t have a lot of pitching depth. Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Kyle Kendrick are guaranteed rotation spots. Two of Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Roberto Hernandez, and Jonathan Pettibone will take the remaining slots. Gaudin would rank #7 on the rotation depth chart and he could even sneak into the rotation with a strong spring. 10 different Phillies made at least one start last season. They will almost certainly need more than the current seven available starters.

It would be hyperbole to call this signing “great”, but it’s exactly what the Phillies need at this point, just a few weeks away from spring training.

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