Despite possessing an ample amount of options in their infield, the Los Angeles Dodgers have re-signed second baseman Howie Kendrick to a two-year, $20 million deal, pending a physical.
Kendrick, 32, spent his first season with the National League last year after the Dodgers acquired him from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney. The 10-year veteran rewarded the Dodgers with another strong season, hitting.295, with 9 HR and 54 RBI in 117 games for the eventual 2015 NL West division champions.
A strained hamstring cost Kendrick over one month of action last year. Due to the injury, those 117 games played ended up as the fewest Kendrick appeared in during a single season since 2009. It was also the reason why the Dodgers went out and acquired help in the form of veteran second baseman Chase Utley.
After returning to action in mid-September, Kendrick provided the Dodgers with a spark. He contributed a.273 average for the Dodgers in the National League Division Series before the team lost in five games to the Mets. Many assumed that was the end Kendrick’s stint with the Dodgers.
Earlier in the offseason, Kendrick rejected a $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Dodgers, thus giving the team a chance to obtain a draft pick if he signed elsewhere. All indications were that Kendrick, a lifetime.293 hitter, was going to sign with another team — especially after the Dodgers re-signed Utley.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the Arizona Diamondbacks were the most frequently mentioned potential suitor for Kendrick. The team was reportedly looking to trade from its surplus of potential second baseman. Preferably, the Diamondbacks would love to rid themselves of Aaron Hill’s ill-advised deal, which still has $12 million coming his way in 2016.
The problem was that Diamondbacks’ GM Dave Stewart was adamant about not wanting to part with a draft pick to sign Kendrick. Speaking with Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro, Stewart sounded confident in the Diamondbacks’ in-house options. But he did not rule out a run for an impact hitter, either.
“We have every reason to believe that ‘C.O.’ [Chris Owings] is going to definitely, in this upcoming season, have a bounce-back year. And Nick Ahmed has been working really hard this winter. We can still get the offense that we need assuming that our guys do what they’re capable of doing. Or you can go out and get a guy who is a proven offensive player and try to add him to the mix somewhere.”
Per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, talks between Kendrick and the Diamondbacks were described as “ongoing” but no deal ever came close. If the Diamondbacks had signed Kendrick, it would’ve been their second major scoop from their division rival Dodgers. Earlier in the offseason, the Diamondbacks signed superstar pitcher Zack Greinke to a record-setting deal.
The Dodgers themselves have an abundance of talent for their infield. In addition to Utley and Kendrick, the Dodgers have Enrique Hernandez, Justin Turner, Micah Johnson, Charlie Culberson, and Alex Guerrero for their infield mix. With Kendrick back, he figures to receive a major bulk of the playing time at second base. Utley and Turner will likely platoon at third base while all of the other names either make the team as reserves or start the season in Triple-A.
[Featured Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]