PN Writer's Roundtable: Chad Durbin – Phillies Nation

PN Writer's Roundtable: Chad Durbin

There has been chatter throughout the winter that Chad Durbin was close to re-signing with the Phillies, then not, then back to close, then who the hell knows. As it stands, it appears Durbin is all but out of the plans for the 2011 Phillies. So, we asked the question in the latest Writer’s Roundtable…

Q: Will the Phillies miss Chad Durbin now that it appears he is not returning?

Jay Floyd: No, the Phillies will not miss Chad Durbin. I’ve been steadily in favor of filling any bullpen voids from within this entire off-season. The team has plenty of options and the bullpen is one of the few spots the Phils will be able to fill with inexpensive salaries.

Those who have followed my ProspectNation rankings closely will realize that the Phillies have plenty of relief options in the minors. With names like Mike Stutes and Justin De Fratus close to being ready for the bigs as well as guys with Major League experience like Antonio Bastardo, Scott Mathieson, Mike Zagurski, and more, waiting to prove themselves worthy of another opportunity, the Phils are stocked with capable arms for the upcoming season.Another name that seems to get forgotten about regularly is David Herndon, the young hurler that the Phillies liked so much that they kept him on the 25-man roster for the full season in 2010, so they did not have to risk losing him back to the Angels, from where they selected him as a Rule 5 pick. Herndon could certainly be a key contributor among the Philadelphia relief corps this year.

With Jose Contreras as the only big league reliever under contract beyond the 2011 season, it will be key for the Phillies to give a few of these guys a shot at showing what they can do at the Major League level, as oppotunities pop up, in hopes of shoring up some bullpen slots going forward.

Kieran Carobine: I really liked Chad Durbin. He was a dependable middle reliever out of the pen for the Phillies. And that’s all he was. Durbin never really caught on as a set-up guy. He wasn’t too overpowering with this stuff but he did get the job done. His ERA of 3.62 for the three years in a Phillies uniform is going to be hard to replace. Who steps in? My guess is Kyle Kendrick.

With Kendrick and the Phils agreeing on a one year deal to avoid arbitration it seems the front office feels the same way. I think the Phillies will miss Durbin. He was willing to go to the bullpen after figuring out that starting just wasn’t in the cards. But with that said, Kendrick does have a lot of up side. He is usually pretty strong in the early innings which could prove beneficial when called on to pitch two or three innings. Then again, I would not be surprised seeing Kendrick stepping in for a spot start with the work load the aces have been putting in the past couple years. This will be a big year for Kendrick. It is time for him to earn that money!

Michael Baumann: Chad Durbin is, like Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth, a player who came out of nowhere to have a career year on a good Phillies team. Durbin’s 2008 (2.87 ERA, 71 appearances, and 1.4 rWAR, all career highs) was spectacular, and despite being okay since then, he’s 33 and I’d put money on his never being that good again, considering how short a shelf life middle relievers–particularly right-handed middle relievers–tend to have.

We’ll all remember Durbin fondly, but the fact of the matter is that he’s eminently replaceable. Someone like Scott Mathieson or Justin De Fratus will take his innings, and no one will ever know the difference.

Paul Boyé: Durbin gave the Phillies a whole bunch of pretty good innings in his three years in Philly. 2008 and 2010 were statistically sound years, with ’09 being a bit of a bump in the road. Durbin improved on his strikeout rates each of the three years, and showed the flexibility to be a multi-inning guy when needed. He’s certainly a useful arm, assuming he doesn’t revert to his ’09 pumpkin self next year.

But, right now, it doesn’t seem like he has a place in this Philly ‘pen. Madson, Lidge and Contreras have their jobs secured. Romero and Bastardo, too, seem to be locks. Danys Baez, for who knows what reason, also seems certain to make the team. With an apparently tapped-out budget (for real this time), it doesn’t seem prudent to drop two potential guaranteed years and up to $8 million or so for a guy who can be believably mimicked by a bunch of cheaper options. Scott Mathieson, Justin De Fratus and even Kyle Kendrick appear like possibilities for the end of the ‘pen, and while the ‘pen shouldn’t be needed too much, it would still be nice to have a reliable corps of guys spell the aces that are likely to all hit high innings totals if healthy.

So, will Durbin be missed? I think so. He contributed plenty of good in his time here, but I think he’s better served elsewhere, and the Phillies will be able to find a suitable replacement for his production – at a discount – with little trouble.

Pat Gallen: I’m with the majority. Chad Durbin had a few very good years here in Philadelphia and for that he should be compensated, if he’s lucky enough. However, the fact is, the Phillies just do not have room for another pricey veteran.

On one hand, it pains me to say that because Durbin is one of the proverbial good guys. He’s always one to speak in the clubhouse when approached and usually has a smile on his face. But Durbin would be the first to tell you, this is a business.

On the other, the Phillies have a young, talented crop of bullpen arms that need to be set free. Guys like De Fratus, Stutes, etc., are waiting in the wings and at a much friendlier price. Unfortunately, Durbin is no longer needed here. That’s not because of his own doing. It’s more of a it’s-not-you-it’s-us type deal with the Phillies.  Hopefully he ends up somewhere that will benefit him and his family because Durbin is a guy you should root for no matter where he lands. He will be missed in the sense that he’s a perfect teammate, good player, and hard worker. On the field, however, they should be able to replace him.

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  1. Captain Chaos

    February 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    It’d be awesome if we could sign Durbin for a discount and cut Baez. Since that doesn’t seem to be an option though, unless a trade partner for Joe blanton appears. I’m fine with filling in young players in the bullpen. Otherwise we’ll be spending a ton of cash next offseason trying to find a new bullpen.

  2. DroppedThirdStrike

    February 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    I wouldn’t mind Durbin… but I’d prefer to give the reigns over to young, in house guys. This starting pitching staff affords us the perfect opportunity to test the waters with a whole handful of guys like Zagurski, Mattheison, Stutes, DeFratus, & Bastardo. It’s a luxury few teams have and I think seeing which of these guys has the stuff to work at the big league level is very important for this year and the next few. In fact, I wouldn’t have even given JC Romero another shot.

    • Lefty

      February 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm

      I’m with you DTS. We do have a perfect opportunity to go young and should do so, bring on the young guns.

      But I wasn’t totally against the Romero signing because I don’t think you can have enough Loogys. The Giants were the perfect example of that last year. Also I’m not completely sold yet on Bastardo, but if he keeps improving maybe next year we don’t need JC anymore.

  3. Pat Gallen

    February 2, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I’m right there with you, I think Romero was a bad idea.

  4. Jay Floyd

    February 2, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    It’s going to be a fun year watching these guys strive to make their mark.

    In my interview w/ Ruben he straight up points out that annually the Phils typically use 20 pitchers. No one gets through the season w/ their original 12 guys, so he’s counting pitchers like Mathieson, Zagurski, De Fratus & Bastardo to really contribute in 2011.

  5. betasigmadeltashag

    February 2, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I like the JC signing for one year, even though I think by June if not earlier Bastardo will be the first lefty out of the pen, because he can get RH and LH batters out. But JC will be good for the kid to learn from. I also really like Durbin and hate to see him go, I just think any offer the Phillies make for him would almost be an insult. Would also like to see Moyer give up on his come back and get put on the coaching squad. And to Jay’s point I think that is why they are not in a hurry to just dumped Blanton’s contract on some one for nothing. The guy can eat up some innings and can pitch out of the pen if need be in some situations.

  6. tavian

    February 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Big MISTAKE —- not signing Durbin. Here’s why. The starters have confidence in him and in his experience. He is a good guy and a team guy. We have Baez, who should be let go. We have a mature pitching staff and we want to win NOW. Durbin is an ingredient that will help more than the younger guys. It’s that simple, and we all know that Baez absolutely stinks. Our bullpen should include the following: Lidge, Madsen, Contreras, Romero, Durbin, Bastardo and possibly Herndon.

    If we don’t trade Blanton, then Kendrick should get some work in the minors as we will need him sooner or later this year.

  7. Pat Gallen

    February 2, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    While I really enjoyed Durbin as a member of the Phillies, I don’t think he’s crucial to their win now approach. There is someone out there, for far less, that can come close to doing that same job. It’ll be sad not to see him, but I think it’s the right move.

    • Chuck

      February 2, 2011 at 6:38 pm

      I agree. Durbin’s a great guy….really classy. And he pitched well. But the economics is the economics. I think he’s expendable.

  8. Don M

    February 3, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    According to Jayson Stark.. Durbin was seeking a raise, and happens to play the exact position where any farm-developed pitchers would play on this MLB roster . . . the long reliever role.

    They want to see what they have from some of their younger arms, and they need to find out who can contribute on the MLB level because Lidge, Madson, Contreras, Baez, Romero all come off the books soon

    Also, with their deep system, they can trade for any help they need at the All-Star break (which is my same position for the RF, Right handed bat “need”) I like Durbin and would like to see him stay, but if he wants to play on a great team, he’s got to make the sacrifice in pay which he wasn’t willing to do… if you aren’t a star on this team, you should feel somewhat lucky just to be a part of it

    Romero is geting like 1.25 Million or something next year… chump change for a Lefty with lots of playoff experience.. he was worth the risk

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