Howie Kendrick Rumors

Dodgers Acquire Howie Kendrick

The Dodgers have announced that they’ve acquired second baseman Howie Kendrick from the Angels, for southpaw Andrew Heaney, who was just acquired by the Dodgers from the Marlins earlier today. No money is changing hands in the deal, so the Dodgers will pay all of the $9.5MM Kendrick is owed in 2015.

Kendrick replaces Dee Gordon at second base, as Gordon was part of the package that went to Miami for Heaney as part of this incredible day of transactions for the Dodgers.  Kendrick represents both an offensive and defensive upgrade over Gordon, and the 31-year-old hit .293/.347/.397 over 674 PA last season.MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics

Kendrick has been a subject of trade rumors for much of the offseason, with teams such as the Orioles, Yankees and Blue Jays all connected to the veteran second baseman at various times.  In the end, however, Kendrick will move down the highway to Los Angeles’ other team.  This isn’t the first time that Kendrick has been pursued by the Dodgers, as the two L.A. clubs discussed a trade in the summer of 2013.

Payroll was primarily the reason why the Halos were willing to move Kendrick or David Freese this offseason.  Kendrick will earn $9.5MM in the last year of his contract, and getting that salary off the books will give the Angels some flexibility for further moves.  The Angels have been aggressively looking for utility infielders, and presumably whomever they acquire will now be in line for some regular playing time alongside Grant Green at second base.

The Angels were said to be targeting young pitching for much of the offseason, and they’ve now landed one of the game’s top prospects in Heaney.  The lefty was named both the Marlins’ top prospect and the #30 prospect in the sport by Baseball America in their 2014 preseason rankings.  He has a 2.77 ERA, 9.1 K/9, and 3.85 K/BB rate over 259 2/3 minor league innings, and he threw 29 1/3 innings for Miami this season in his first taste of the bigs.

Heaney is 23 years and controllable through the 2020 season, and presumably he’ll get every opportunity to win a job in the Angels’ rotation.  Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Matt Shoemaker are the only starters guaranteed for jobs on Opening Day, as Garrett Richards may start the season on the DL.  Heaney joins Tyler Skaggs, Nick Tropeano, Hector Santiago and Cory Rasmus in battling it out for rotation jobs in Spring Training.

MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick initially reported that the Dodgers would acquire Kendrick (on Twitter). FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Angels would receive Heaney in return. The Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin tweeted that the Dodgers would take on Kendrick’s entire salary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


West Notes: Kemp, Cabrera, Kendrick, Upton

With the Winter Meetings beginning in San Diego, this could be the week the Dodgers finally deal from their glut of outfielders, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers would prefer to hang onto Matt Kemp, according to Shaikin, but Major League players are not being offered for either Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford.

Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports the Mariners were close to a deal for Kemp with Seattle paying roughly half of the $107 million remaining on his salary over the next five years, but things fell apart when the Dodgers insisted on the inclusion of either Taijuan Walker or James Paxton. In a second article, Dutton lists the Padres and the Orioles as the Mariners’ primary competition for Kemp, with Shaikin adding the Giants are a possibility, if they fail to sign Chase Headley. With Nelson Cruz now in Seattle, Dutton opines the Mariners’ interest in Kemp will depend on what other offers the Dodgers receive. Those other offers may not be to the Dodgers’ liking, as Shaikin notes the Braves (Justin Upton and Evan Gattis), Red Sox (Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig), and Phillies (Marlon Byrd) also have right-handed power bats available to trade.

Elsewhere in baseball’s West divisions:

  • Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman says the constant rumors that come with running a major market team are “comical,” but he doesn’t necessarily mind it, writes Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “Misinformation can be a powerful tool,” Friedman said.
  • The Mariners are reluctant to part with their young pitching to acquire an outfield bat, according to Dutton. “That’s a little bit of a dangerous road,” said GM Jack Zduriencik. “You look at our pitching staff, and when you analyze it, a couple of those young starters didn’t pitch a lot of innings last year.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets the Mariners are very serious about their pursuit of Melky Cabrera. Last week, it was reported the M’s are believed to be willing to offer something similar to the four-year, $57MM deal that they used to sign Cruz.
  • In a separate tweet, Rosenthal posits the Angels are reluctant to trade second baseman Howie Kendrick because of offensive concerns including uncertainity about Josh Hamilton, an unsettled DH situation, and no clear backup catcher.
  • Sources tell ESPN’s Buster Olney (via Twitter) the Giants and Reds are great fits for Justin Upton, but neither match up well with the Braves and may need to involve a third team to swing a deal.
  • Olney also tweets the Astros continue to pursue closer David Robertson and his most lucrative offer might come from Houston.
  • Rockies GM Jeff Bridich tells Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post there has been interest in catcher Wilin Rosario, but Colorado “could very easily go into the season with Wilin.

Orioles Receiving Interest In Wei-Yin Chen, Discussed Trade With Angels

The Orioles feel trade interest in left-hander Wei-Yin Chen is “very high,” as they’ve received more calls about Chen than any other player on their 25-man roster, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports.

The O’s are listening to offers since Chen is a free agent after the 2015 season, though they’re not shopping the southpaw.  In fact, Connolly notes that Chen (after Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman) is the least-likeliest Oriole starter to be traded since he is coming off a strong season and is the rotation’s only lefty.  Though Chen only comes with one year of control, the Orioles could acquire “a healthy return of either prospects or immediate major league help,” one talent evaluator tells Connolly.

The Angels were one team that had particular interest in Chen, and they discussed a deal with the O’s that would’ve seen second baseman Howie Kendrick go to Baltimore.  The Orioles ultimately rejected the offer and talks between the two sides appear to be finished, Connolly reports, as the Halos are apparently no longer looking to deal Kendrick for pitching depth.

In October, the O’s made the easy call to exercise their $4.75MM option on Chen’s services for 2015.  Chen posted a 3.54 ERA, 3.89 K/BB and 6.6 K/9 over 185 2/3 IP for Baltimore, and he’s been a solid contributor in all three of his seasons with the Orioles, amassing 6.7 fWAR/6.2 rWAR in that span.  Another good year could put the 29-year-old in position for a nice multiyear contract in free agency next offseason, which could put Chen out of Baltimore’s price range, especially since he’s represented by Scott Boras.

Bud Norris has also received some trade interest, Connolly reports, and it’s safe to assume the Orioles would be much more open to dealing Norris than Chen.  While Norris is also coming off a solid season, he hasn’t been as consistent as Chen over the last three seasons, plus he’s much pricier — MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projects Norris for an $8.7MM salary via arbitration this winter.



Arbitration Notes: Ogando, Moreland, Russell, Parra, Descalso

Tomorrow night (11pm CT) is the deadline for teams to tender or non-tender contracts to their arbitration eligible players. MLBTR has previously identified a list of non-tender candidates as well as provided projected salaries for each arbitration eligible player of the offseason (courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz). In addition to those resources, you can follow along and keep track of players using our 2015 Non-Tender Tracker. We’ll cover some more of the specifics on non-tendering and arbitration tomorrow (though those who are new to the concept can check out last year’s post on explaining non-tenders), and already took a look at some notes earlier today.

Here’s the latest on the upcoming decisions:

  • Righty Alexi Ogando and first baseman Mitch Moreland are expected to be tendered contracts tomorrow, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Both players have some upside that Texas is surely loath to give up on, though each brings some uncertainty with their projected $2.6MM and $2.8MM arb costs (respectively).
  • As things stand, the Braves‘ only certain tenders are slated for Mike Minor and David Carpenter, writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. The team is still unsure exactly how it will proceed with respect to rehabbing starters Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy as well as pen lefty James Russell. The southpaw, who was added at the trade deadline, projects to earn a fairly meager $2.4MM and seems a decent value at that price tag.
  • Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash indicated that the team intends to tender Gerardo Parra a contract rather than cutting him loose, according to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. Parra’s hefty $6.4MM projection is quite a sum for a fourth outfielder, though Ash noted that he has received plenty of playing time as a part-time starter and frequent reserve. And, of course, a trade could still be made.
  • It seems likely that the Cardinals will non-tender utilityman Daniel Descalso, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch writes. Descalso carries a $1.4MM projected salary but saw a reduced role last year and the organization has added several apparent pieces that would seem to be viable replacements.

Trade Notes: Porcello, Ramirez, Upton, Kendrick, Padres

It’s already been a fairly active winter on the trade front, as we’ve seen the Brewers acquire Adam Lind, the D’Backs acquire Jeremy Hellickson, the Tigers acquire Anthony Gose and of course the Cardinals/Braves Jason Heyward blockbuster. All of this has come before the Winter Meetings, so action on the trade front only figures to increase over the next month. Here are some of the latest rumblings from around the league…

  • ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that in addition to Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister and the Reds’ quartet of starters that are rumored to be available (Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon), Rick Porcello is believed to be attainable in trades. Rival evaluators feel that many players that are set to be free agents a year from now could be had for the right offer. The Tigers, of course, are aiming to contend in 2015, but Porcello is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $12.2MM in arbitration and could fetch a nice piece while freeing up some cash for GM Dave Dombrowski to address other areas of need.
  • Olney also hears (Twitter link) that the White Sox‘ asking price on Alexei Ramirez is “steep to the degree that you’d want to be buying in for two to three years.” Ramirez is guaranteed $10MM next season and has a $10MM club option for the 2016 season with a $1MM buyout.
  • The Mariners will surely make a run at either Justin Upton or Evan Gattis, if they haven’t already, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter links). O’Brien gets the sense that top prospect Taijuan Walker is not completely off the table in trade talks with Seattle, but it would probably take more than one year of Upton to acquire him.
  • Angels GM Jerry Dipoto tells Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times that he’s had trade discussions regarding Howie Kendrick, but he’s in no way eager to move his second baseman. The Halos entered the offseason thinking they might be able to move Kendrick for a controllable, young rotation option but somewhat surprisingly did so by acquiring Nick Tropeano in the Hank Conger trade. “The only way we would move him is if we become a better club,” Dipoto tells DiGiovanna. “And it would take a heck of a deal for us to feel like we’re a better club by moving Howie.”
  • Though much has been made of the possibility that the Padres could trade Tyson Ross or Andrew Cashner to bolster the club’s offense, the team is now strongly considering hanging onto both pitchers, sources tell MLB.com’s Corey Brock. Interestingly, Brock’s report mentions reported trade interest in Ian Kennedy but does not state that the Friars are similarly likely to hold onto the 29-year-old. Kennedy will be a free agent next winter.

Yankees, Blue Jays Inquired On Kendrick; Angels May Hold

The Angels remain open, but not committed, to dealing second baseman Howie Kendrick or third baseman David Freese if they can bring back an arm, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The former is unsurprisingly drawing more interest at the moment, with the Yankees and Blue Jays among the teams that have inquired into his availability.

According to Heyman, the Halos are more likely than not to keep Kendrick. The 31-year-old is coming off of perhaps his best season as a professional. He will earn $9.5MM this year before hitting the open market.

Nevertheless, the team is still listening to proposals that would help bolster its rotation depth, which remains an area of focus. The club is comfortable considering that possibility due to the presence of Gordon Beckham, says Heyman, though he also seems to be a plausible non-tender candidate. Presumably, Grant Green could be a factor as well if the Angels create an opening up the middle.


AL West Notes: Kendrick, Astros, Engel Beltre

The Angels remain open to trading second baseman Howie Kendrick, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Kendrick, 31, is eligible for free agency after the season.  More from the AL West…

  • The Astros’ 2015 payroll still projects to be in the $70MM range, explains Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.  The team has about $17.7MM committed for 2015 for four players, plus around $21MM for their seven essential arbitration eligible players, a few of whom could be traded.  It’s easy to see that this team has some money to spend.
  • Drellich says “there’s little expectation the Astros would add a player who received a qualifying offer,” but admits that the team will be more open to giving up a draft pick this winter.  “We have two protected picks.  So a qualifying offer is not necessarily an impediment to how we would behave compared to a team that had a pick that was their only pick, and that was No. 13 or 15 or something like that. So we have that advantage,” said GM Jeff Luhnow.  The Astros would give up the competitive balance round pick they acquired from the Marlins in the summer if they sign one of the 11 qualified free agents.  The Astros were linked to Hanley Ramirez earlier today.
  • Outfielder Engel Beltre has elected free agency after refusing an outright assignment to Triple-A from the Rangers, writes Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com.  GM Jon Daniels said, “He’s exploring other options.  We are as well. We haven’t closed the door. We haven’t made him an offer at this point.”  Beltre, who missed the entire 2014 season with a fractured tibia, was a key piece of the Rangers’ return from the Red Sox for Eric Gagne at the 2007 trade deadline.

AL East Notes: Jays, Kendrick, Yanks, Cruz, Sox

Blue Jays president Paul Beeston appears set to continue on in that capacity, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. Of course, as Davidi notes, both Beeston and GM Alex Anthopoulos could face questions if a postseason berth is not in the offing in 2015. The front office will have at least $20MM to $30MM in free salary, Davidi reasons, which could be bolstered with a spending increase and/or move to shed some payroll obligations. As Davidi rightly notes, Toronto has a very clean balance sheet after this year, which could potentially leave the team with a big hammer to wield in free agency.

Here’s more from Toronto and the rest of the AL East:

  • The Blue Jays have a number of possible offseason targets on both the trade and free agent front, writes Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith. Among them is Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, who Toronto has “placed multiple calls on,” according to Nicholson-Smith — who, it should be noted, also recently reported that the Jays are on Kendrick’s no-trade list.
  • Whether or not the Yankees are big free agent spenders this year remains to be seen, but the club’s financial muscle is flexed in many and disparate ways, as Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs writes. Over recent years, New York has consistently controlled the market for minor league free agents, bringing bigger and better offers to the table for players like Yangervis Solarte. (In an interesting note to give context to this relatively minimal spending, McDaniel says a team source told him the team could break even financially even if it carried $500MM in total payroll obligations, including luxury tax costs.)
  • The early set of rotation targets for the Yankees features names like Brandon McCarthy, Jason Hammel, and Chris Capuano, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. That jibes with another recent report suggesting that New York has no current plans to attack the arms at the top of the market.
  • Free agent closer David Robertson, who is currently weighing a qualifying offer from the Yankees, is one of the most fascinating free agents to watch. Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that his sense is the club will be interested in exploring a multi-year deal with Robertson, but may not chase him at the top of the market and would be comfortable allowing him to walk.
  • Another QO recipient, Nelson Cruz, told MLB Network Radio (via Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun) that a return to the Orioles is his preferred outcome. “No doubt it’s my first choice,” said Cruz. “I’d love to be back. I understand the business. I know they’re interested in bringing me back. Hopefully we can work something out.” Cruz was not willing to say he would take a lesser deal to stay in Baltimore, though it is obviously hard to fault him for not copping to that publicly — or, for that matter, for choosing the best contract offer he receives, if that ultimately proves to be the case.
  • The Red Sox catcher of the future is Blake Swihart, not Christian Vazquez, opines J.J. Cooper of Baseball America. But the team need not decide now how it will sort out the presence of two highly-regarded young backstops. Instead, the team has the option of adding a veteran presence alongside Vazquez for the coming year while Swihart continues to develop in the minors. Assuming Swihart establishes himself as a big league regular, Boston will have plenty of time to assess whether it makes more sense to keep both players or deal one away.

Details On Howie Kendrick’s No-Trade Clause

Angels infielder Howie Kendrick‘s extension contains a clause permitting him to block trades to four teams this year. As Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports on Twitter, Kendrick can decline a swap that would send him to the Blue Jays, Mets, Rays, or Marlins.

The 31-year-old second baseman has been mentioned as a trade candidate as he enters the final year of the extension he signed before the 2012 season. Kendrick is owed $9.5MM this year before hitting the open market.

Kendrick could hold appeal to several teams given his reasonable price tag and lack of a long-term commitment. Of course, the Jays, Mets, and Marlins are all clubs that seem poised (on paper, at least) to pursue additions up the middle, so his no-trade choices could well have an impact on his market.

For the contending Halos, the possibility of a deal seems tied primarily to the desire to open up payroll space. After all, Kendrick has produced at or above the league average rate in every year but his first. And he has been a consistently strong producer in recent years: since 2012, Kendrick has averaged 594 plate appearances and a .292/.336/.410 line and has been good for about twenty combined homers and steals per campaign.

With solid defensive marks, Kendrick has been a consistently above-average player on the whole. And a jump in defensive metrics last year thrust him into the four-to-five WAR range. That is an appealing total package, particularly when his good record of durability and limited commitment are factored in.


Angels Likely To Trade Kendrick Or Freese

The Angels are likely to trade either second baseman Howie Kendrick or third baseman David Freese, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Kendrick will make $9.5MM in the last season of a four-year deal after hitting .293/.347/.397 in 2014. Freese, who made $5.05MM last season after arriving from the Cardinals in a trade, will likely receive a raise in his last season of arbitration eligibility before free agency. He hit .261/.321/.383 in his first season in Anaheim.

The Angels would like to add starting pitching or left-handed relief help, and dealing a relatively expensive player in Kendrick or Freese would help with their luxury tax issues. Gordon Beckham, who the Angels acquired from the White Sox in a minor deal in August, could replace either player as a starter, or the Angels could use Grant Green at second. Beckham and Green would likely be downgrades, however, particularly if the Angels were to trade Kendrick.