As of now, the Dodgers are content to roll with a Chase Utley and Kike Hernandez platoon at second base. But if they change their mind, Howie Kendrick is waiting. According to Robert Pace of Fox Sports, Kendrick would prefer to return to the Dodgers for a second season.
In that article, Kendrick had some great things to say about the organization:
“Playing with the Dodgers was fun. I was hoping to go back there. I just want to be in a winning situation.”
It’s interesting that he said “was”, though. That sounds like Kendrick and/or the Dodgers have moved on from the possibility, for whatever the reasons are. And though the door on a return isn’t completely shut, the plethora of options the Dodgers have make it unlikely.
Although there’s still a possibility that the Dodgers could re-sign Kendrick, Los Angeles currently has a handful of options at second base, including re-signed veteran Chase Utley, utility man Kike Hernandez, and recently acquired touted prospect Micah Johnson.
For a middle infielder that had a slash line of .293./.336/.409 last season, it does seem a bit odd that that’s the case. There have been worries about the Dodgers’ middle of the order, and Kendrick would appear to be a helpful addition. But at the same time, you’d think, given his his strong 2015 campaign, that he’d be a hot commodity among other teams in need for a quality middle infielder, but that hasn’t been the case so far.
“There hasn’t been a lot of dialogue as far as I know, but I’m not concerned. I just want to be in a good environment, with a team that’s committed to winning. I think I mesh well wherever I am.”
A reason for the lack of interest is partly due to Kendrick’s free agency status. If signed by another team, that team would then have to forfeit a first round draft pick. It has likely severely hampered teams’ interest in him, but one team has expressed interest, the Arizona Diamondbacks, a team in which Kendrick could see himself playing for.
“[The D-backs are] a really good fit for what I’m looking for in a team… They have a lot of good players who play the game the right way — guys like Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock. I also know what Greinke can do for a team. They have a lot of pieces. I think I can bring a lot to any team.”
The interest appears to be mutual, but, again, Kendrick’s free agency status comes into play. The Diamondbacks will already have to surrender their first-round pick to the Dodgers because of the signing of Zack Greinke, and signing Kendrick would mean they’d then have to give up their second-round pick as well. Based on what Diamondbacks’ GM Dave Stewart told Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi, that’s doubtful.
“We’re not going to give up the pick,” Stewart said. “It’s just tough after we’ve already given up our first pick. To give up our top two picks, that would be difficult for us to do.”
So if Kendrick isn’t going to land in Arizona, where is he going to end up? A return to Los Angeles would be his preference, but unless there’s an ideological change in the team’s front office, he’s going to have to find somewhere else call home next season.