As long as they remain healthy, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee represent the only two starting arms that the Philadelphia Phillies can count on heading into the 2014 season. In consideration of a long season, that's not encouraging news.
Recently signed Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez should be part of next year's rotation. The 26-year-old right-hander was given a three-year, $12 million deal because the organization believes he can wear a big league uniform. While that projection must be realized, it's fair to conclude that this financial investment will create a full opportunity for success.
It seems hard to imagine that general manger Ruben Amaro, Jr. would agree to give soon-to-be free agent Roy Halladay and the arbitration eligible Kyle Kendrick somewhere around $10 million each next season.
'Doc' is a ongoing health risk and might not be willing to return to a team that he believes isn't World Series worthy. Despite unresolved physical issues, a variety of teams will probably be willing to offer a better deal to Halladay than his current employer wants to. While his departure isn't fully certain, the number 34 may well be up for grabs among incoming Phillies' players next year.
'KK' hit a plateau midway through this season, but remains a good risk to rebound. There will be negotiating room if the 29-year-old is agreeable to a multi-year deal under eight figures per season.
In addition to some promising farm system arms, there are always starting pitching options available via the trade market and through free agency. However, Amaro has plenty of work to do in order to restore this area of his roster to its former place among the most revered in baseball.