Say what you will about the trade (trust me, many will say plenty), but Howie Kendrick is still a solid player and the Los Angeles Dodgers could probably do worse than to run him back in 2016.
You never know how being traded might affect a player and, if Kendrick can play better as he’s more comfortable in Dodgers stadium and with that organization, even casual fans would have to acknowledge the value in the trade.
ESPN agrees. This, via Buster Olney:
Kendrick has played 10 seasons in the major leagues and has never hit lower than .285, never higher than .322; he is an offensive metronome, and last season for the Dodgers, he batted .295 with a .336 on-base percentage. He also missed 45 games, mostly because of a hamstring issue.
Kendrick is a free agent, and after turning down a qualifying offer from the Dodgers, it’s uncertain where he will land. But his next team can expect his usual: a batting average of about .290, with steady (if unspectacular) defense and a great clubhouse presence.
So long as Kendrick is healthy, that type of consistency at the plate is still extremely valuable.
Also on the list: Dee Gordon, who came in second behind only Jose Altuve. Again, there was simply no way of predicting such an immediate and incredible jump in production on Gordon’s part. Any fan who claims to have seen that coming is fooling themselves.
Would it make that trade look bad on the surface if Kendrick winds up elsewhere this offseason? Sure, but Kike Hernandez and Chris Hatcher are great hedges to the bet the Dodgers made on his consistency.
If Kendrick does re-sign (he’s looking for a four-year deal), and we see that consistency to go with a step forward for Hernandez and Hatcher’s continued emergence as a legitimate arm coming out of the bullpen, I’d say the deal is at least even, if the Dodgers didn’t win outright.