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Kyle Kendrick in the opening day rotation for the Atlanta Braves? No thanks

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Atlanta's opening day rotation may include Kyle Kendrick, but that wouldn't be a good idea.

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Nine.

There are, at least, nine starting pitchers that should occupy the opening day rotation for the Atlanta Braves before Kyle Kendrick. The 31-year-old veteran was added by the team on a minor league contract over the winter and, to be honest, there isn't a lot to complain about with that move. Kendrick was woeful (6.32 ERA, 6.12 FIP) over 142.1 innings with the Colorado Rockies in 2015, but he has thrown nearly 1,300 Major League innings and came at (very) little cost.

However, Kendrick is a player better suited for a dual starter-reliever role on a team that is actually trying to compete, rather than a stopgap in a rebuilding project.

The Braves aren't going to be very good at the Major League level in 2016, and that is a poorly kept secret. There is no need to dwell on that fact any more than we already have in this space, but for context concerning Kendrick, it is a piece of valuable information.

At the age of 31, we already know what Kyle Kendrick is. The right-hander has topped 1.3 fWAR only once in his nearly decade-long career, and Kendrick holds a career 4.63 ERA (4.81 FIP) with a strikeout rate of only 4.93 (!!!) batters per 9 innings. To be fair, there is a plausible scenario in which he produces more than enough to be "worthy" of a spot as either a fourth or fifth starter in a big-league rotation, but for a team with zero present aspirations, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to deploy him from the opening moment, especially with no financial resources committed to Kendrick.

This is a team with a stable of young arms, and even with many of them far away, there are more productive uses of a rotation spot. Matt Wisler appears to be a lock to open in the rotation alongside veterans Julio Teheran and Bud Norris, leaving two spots open. Manny Banuelos, Tyrell Jenkins, Ryan Weber, Jhoulys Chacin and even Williams Perez (who I'm not a big fan of long-term) are among the hurlers competing with Kendrick for those spots, and that group does not even include Mike Foltynewicz, who probably won't  be ready health-wise to begin the year in the rotation.

For clarity's sake, there is a high probability that Kyle Kendrick wouldn't be the worst option if the Braves were evaluating simply 2016 production. He could probably be relied upon to eat 160-180 innings with an ERA in the mid-4.00's and, again, there is value in that for many teams around the league in search of a stop-gap. Still, Atlanta needs to be looking down the line and when considering "the next great Braves team", Kyle Kendrick isn't a part of the puzzle.

Fredi Gonzalez exists as this team's manager and, if given the option, he might very well roll with Kendrick because of the aforementioned premise that the veteran right-hander is one of the team's best five starting pitchers in April 2016. That is, though, very flawed thinking when considering the larger picture and, hopefully, a few of the younger, more promising arms will perform well enough in the spring to make what appears to be an obvious decision even easier for Gonzalez and company to make before opening day arrives.