Amaro addresses Phils' pitching situation
No decisions made, despite just 12 pitchers left in camp
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Ruben Amaro Jr. answered a couple questions before they got asked Tuesday morning at Bright House Field.
"No, we haven't made any final decisions on our pitching staff or rotation," Amaro said.
"Yes, we're still looking for other ways to improve our club."
Amaro tried preemptive answering after the Phillies optioned left-hander Mike Zagurski to Minor League camp Monday. It left Philadelphia with only 12 healthy pitchers in camp, a strong indication those are the 12 pitchers that will be on the team's Opening Day roster.
But there is a reason Amaro is not going to say everything has been finalized. While the Phillies have said repeatedly in recent weeks they are not actively pursuing help from outside the organization, if something should develop that makes sense, they could move on it. And for that reason, there is no sense telling David Herndon, Antonio Bastardo and others they have made the team.
One roadblock to any potential deal is that Philadelphia appear to have exceeded its payroll budget, which is approaching $140 million. The club is not in a great position to add payroll. The second roadblock is that everybody in baseball is looking for pitching right now, so it's not like teams are eager to trade a quality bullpen arm.
If the Phillies stand pat, there would seem to be just one roster decision to make: Jamie Moyer or Kyle Kendrick for the fifth job in the rotation?
"They've both [been] doing very well," Amaro said. "Obviously, competition is a good thing. The fact that they're pitching well, I think it can only bode well for the club."
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Phils pitching coach Rich Dubee said Kendrick must beat out Moyer for the job because of Moyer's experience.
Amaro said he agrees with Dubee.
"[Moyer's] know-how and the way he's been most effective will come into play probably, too," Amaro said. "He obviously has more experience starting. And while both of them have been in the bullpen, neither of them have been in the bullpen a whole lot. It'll be an assessment as to what we think is going to be best for the club."
Kendrick has a 1.29 ERA in four Grapefruit League appearances. Moyer has a 3.86 ERA in one Grapefruit League start and three "B" game starts. If those numbers hold -- they could change dramatically before the Phillies break camp -- it would appear on paper that Kendrick had outperformed Moyer.
"I don't evaluate the numbers, especially in Spring Training," Amaro said. "That's not how we evaluate. We have to evaluate what's going to be best overall for our club, and how they're getting people out and those sorts of things. It's still kind of a complicated decision to make. Hopefully we'll make the right one.
"Look at what we did last year. Chan Ho Park probably pitched better than J.A. Happ. Ultimately, was that the right decision to start those guys in those roles? Probably not. That's why they were flipped. We ended up being a better club as a result of it."
Amaro also said Moyer's $8 million salary has no impact on their decision.
"That doesn't come into play," he said.
And Moyer's clear desire to start?
"Ultimately we think we have players who will do what's best for our club," Amaro said.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.