No one knows if the Los Angeles Dodgers have decided on whether or not to trade Howie Kendrick, but they’re certainly keeping their eyes and ears open, with a lot of teams, like the Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals providing potential landing spots.
Last season was disappointing for Kendrick, who signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Dodgers. His defense at second base deteriorated and he spent a lot less time than he would have liked at the plate, averaging 3.7 appearances per game, compared to 4.2 from 2010 through 2015 with the Angels and one season with the Dodgers. He also batted well below his usual numbers, posting a career-low .255 and an OPS of .691. His OPS+ was under 100 for the first time since 2010, and the second lowest of his career.
Kendrick might push the Dodgers to trade him, especially if they re-sign Chase Utley. Kendrick doesn’t mind playing multiple positions, which should increase the interest in him around the league. But he wants more opportunities to hit the ball, and if Utley is re-signed, Kendrick is going to end up being frustrated once again. He averaged only 2.6 plate appearances in the postseason as the Dodgers ended up getting bounced by the Cubs in the NLCS, which obviously didn’t encourage him to stay further. Kendrick played left field, third base and first base last season. His 0.5 WAR was also the lowest of his career, barely hitting above the average.
Kendrick is 33, so one year and $10 million for someone who hasn’t lost his power (never too much of a slugger anyway) and could just be coming off a bad year and not the beginning of a massive decline, shouldn’t keep interested parties away. The Phillis, his former team Angels and the Kansas City Royals too should be looking to fill their 2B spot, and will be talking to the Dodgers about Kendrick when he becomes available.
But as we mentioned, it’s not just second-base needs that could land Kendrick somewhere else. The Rangers are going to need someone in the outfield, at least one. The Mets are going to need a number of spots to fill in, but Kendrick isn’t happy about being part of a platoon, which is probably part of the Mets plan. A team like the Blue Jays is going to be losing outfield and infield talent, and could use someone like Kendrick. As long as it comes with plenty of batting, Kendrick doesn’t really mind where.