The Philadelphia Phillies need to bolster their starting rotation before next season begins. Addition by subtraction is one method general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. can use to reach this critical goal.
Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are the only starters who can be considered reliable heading into next season. Hamels won't be dealt. Lee remains the perpetual trade bridesmaid.
The announced signing of Cuban starter Miguel Gonzalez should put the right-hander somewhere in the bottom three-fifths of the team's rotation next season. Of course, good health and the promise of production is being liberally assumed inside this projection.
Roy Halladay's red pinstriped future is fully uncertain. While he's battled hard to return this season, the Phillies can't measure any potential contract offer by the size of his heart.
If the best starter of his generation isn't able to regularly push the velocity on his hardest pitch past the 87-line, then he's not 'Doc'. Instead, Halladay is a pitcher at the end of his career who might be able to work his way through a few more seasons somewhere in the major leagues.
Kyle Kendrick has always been and may always be a .500 pitcher. While he regressed during the second half of this season, it's fair to assume that 'KK' could post 10-12 wins again next season.
He's arbitration eligible and should command more than $7 million (at least) per season. It doesn't make sense to offer him that amount of money when a veteran fourth starter could likely be had on a one-year deal for far less.
Considering the amounts that Lee ($25 million), Hamels ($23.5 million) and Gonzalez ($3 million) are guaranteed to make in 2014 and the need to upgrade the offense, bench and bullpen, money must be slotted very carefully across the roster.
Signing, or trading for, a modestly-priced veteran arm and allowing a number of promising prospects to compete for the fifth starter's spot would be a smart way for the Phillies to proceed next season.