When the Howie Kendrick balked the qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers, they were probably relieved. They’re more interested in the draft pick they’ll get if someone signs him between now and June, with the New York Mets, Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Angels sorta interested.
Why sort of? Because of the draft pick we mentioned. The 32 year old is still a very good player to have at second base, which is all something of a need for the three teams mentioned (not so much for the Dodgers). But Kendrick isn’t cheap (made $9.5 million last season and expects more), and a draft pick is an expensive piece of business to give up for someone who probably isn’t going to be sticking around for too long, playing just one season with the Dodgers after the in-town trade from the Angels.
But Kendrick, expensive and not young, is a productive player, still. In 117 games last season he had nine home runs with 54 RBIs, batting .295 and finishing with a .746 OPS, pretty much close to his averages throughout his 10-year career. His Offensive WAR did drop to 2.4 last season, the lowest it’s been for him since 2008, but Kendrick is still an above average starter who brings decent defense and very good offense to the plate
The Arizona Diamondbacks were also in the running for Kendrick, back when the Dodgers were still thinking of re-signing him. But they probably think he’s too expensive, both in terms of salary and the draft pick price, which is why the Dodgers aren’t too busy trying to get him back. Besides, they’re set at second base with Chase Utley, Enrique Hernandez and Micah Johnson, leaving the one-time All-Star in a difficult spot considering he might not have leverage anymore in the market.
It’ll be interesting to see if someone does eventually sign him in the next month or so, or maybe teams wait until he doesn’t cost them a draft pick, although that will mean signing a player who is out for a very long time (draft is in June). Kendrick spent his first nine seasons in the league (2006-2014) with the Angels, mostly playing second base but also a bit of other infield position and even the outfield. He has 87 career home runs, batting .293 with a .746 OPS through 1198 career games.