I'd have to say Kendrick's pretty much untradeable, unless some small-market team with bad pitching feels his experience would be a bonus. But he's clearly been exposed as a pitcher and makes too much money to simply be a mid-inning reliever.
I'd like to see Howard sit the rest of the way. His recovery isn't helped by the daily wear and tear on the ankle. Utley, on the other hand, I'd let play as long as he's feeling okay. Since his issue is basically degenerative or chronic, it can flare up at any time - even if not active. Polanco will get his time in with Frandsen getting the occasional start. Unfortunately, many of these decisions are money-driven. The Phils are trying to get what they can out of the money spent on the likes of Kendrick and Polanco. As long as backups keep getting multi-year deals (Kendrick, Nix - Schneider in the past), they'll play. It's a lot easier for management to sit a player making the minimum than it is to sit a player he had his bosses give the greenlight to sign.
And look at this - see anything that stands out?
Laynce Nix OF
■ re-signed by Milwaukee (minor-league contract) 1/4/08
■ signed as a free agent by Cincinnati 12/08 (minor-league contract)
■ re-signed as a free agent by Cincinnati 12/18/09 (minor-league contract)
■ signed as a free agent by Washington 2/3/11 (minor-league contract)
■ signed by Philadelphia as a free agent 12/9/11
■ 12:$1.15M, 13:$1.35M
Doesn't look like much. But I never once heard any team knocking down Laynce's door to sign with them. He's a replacement level player basically that should have gotten what he has in the past - a minor league deal. But Ruben likes to outbid himself - like he did with Ibanez and Papelbon. Even these smaller players are killers when you're so close to the tax limit.
How about Kyle?
Kyle Kendrick RHP
■ signed extension with Philadelphia 2/19/12
■ 12:$3M, 13:$4.5M
■ replaced 1 year/$3.585M deal signed 1/13/12 (avoided arbitration)
How about that. Had the Phils simply kept his one year deal in tact, he'd have counted for $3.58 against the tax. In reworking the deal, he actually costs more this year ($3.75M) and if the Phillies try to unload him after the season, teams are going to see that gaudy $4.5M salary and bail. The problem with this whole deal is what Ruben did earlier on. During the '10 season, Kyle was making league minimum and heading into arbitration with a .500 record and an ERA near 5.00. Estimates were that the Phillies would come in at $1.25-$1.5M and Kendrick would be in the area of $1.75-$2.0M. What did Ruben do? He jumped in and gave him $2.5M. What? All that did was re-establish the low number and set a higher ceiling with which Kyle would use in his next year's arb case. They've screwed up with his salary for the past three years now.
It's these types of moves IMO that have a trickle-down effect on what can be done for the team. We always hear about the big "albatross" contracts like Ryan's and Papelbon's. But like the steroid scandal, the smaller, less-noteworthy people seem to go under the radar.