Howie Kendrick Rumors

Blue Jays Interested In Howie Kendrick

1:30pm: The Angels are likely to keep Kendrick, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).  The Halos couldn't find the right match for a starting pitcher but could revisit things this offseason.

10:43am: In recent days, the Blue Jays have expressed geniune interest in Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.  While the Blue Jays aren't buyers in the traditional sense, they are looking at ways of addressing needs for 2013 and beyond.

Kendrick, 30, will earn the prorated portion of $8.75MM in 2013, $9.35MM in 2014, and $9.5MM in 2015 before hitting free agency.  This season, Kendrick is hitting .301/.344/.446 with eleven homers and is looking stronger than he did in 2012.

The Angels have also discussed Kendrick with the Royals as Kansas City combs the market for a second baseman. According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the Halos would require a front-line, Major League or MLB-ready starting pitcher for Kendrick or Erick Aybar. This morning, DiGiovanna noted that the club is fielding numerous inquiries on Kendrick, who has a no-trade list of a dozen teams.


Angels Unlikely To Trade Aybar; Kendrick Still In Play

The Angels are unlikely to trade Erick Aybar at this point, but second baseman Howie Kendrick remains in play on the trade market, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (on Twitter).

Reports earlier tonight suggested that Aybar has drawn interest from the Cardinals, though St. Louis was unwilling to part with top prospects Michael Wacha or Carlos Martinez to facilitate a deal.

Kendrick, 29, will earn $9.35MM in 2014 and $9.5MM in 2015 in the final two seasons of a four-year contract with the Halos. He's hitting .298/.338/.444 with 11 homers this season and has drawn interest from the Royals in recent days. Anaheim flipped Alberto Callaspo to the A's in exchange for former first-rounder and second base prospect Grant Green, so the Angels have newfound depth at second base that could allow them to move Kendrick if they wish.


Royals Discussed Kendrick, Beckham, Weeks

3:50pm: The Royals are one of 12 teams to which Kendrick can block a trade, notes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

3:07pm: The Royals have had discussions about second basemen Howie Kendrick of the Angels, Gordon Beckham of the White Sox, and Rickie Weeks of the Brewers, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.  They also looked at the Phillies' Kevin Frandsen.  However, Knobler says there is no indication the Royals are close to any deal.

The Royals have used Chris Getz, Elliot Johnson, Miguel Tejada, and Johnny Giavotella at second base this year, resulting in a .230/.279/.311 offensive line.  They seek a second baseman they would control beyond 2013, says Knobler, and all of the players mentioned above are controlled through '15.

The Angels would need a front-line, Major League or MLB-ready starting pitcher for Kendrick or Erick Aybar, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times.  As Knobler notes, Beckham presents the problem of playing within the Royals' division, while Weeks' salary is prohibitive compared to his production.



Stark On Howie Kendrick, Cubs, D’Backs

ESPN's Jayson Stark begins his latest column with a look at the Biogenesis situation.  As Joel Sherman of the New York Post first reported, suspension announcements are not expected today.  Sherman expects the announcements to come Thursday or Friday.  In Stark's opinion, the Rangers are acting like a team that knows what Nelson Cruz will do if suspended, in that their aggressive search for a bat suggests he might serve a suspension now to preserve his free agent value.  Meanwhile, the Tigers' lack of pursuit of a backup plan to shortstop Jhonny Peralta suggests he'll appeal.  Elsewhere in Stark's column:

  • The Dodgers and Angels, who haven't made a trade in 20 years, had a "mostly casual conversation" regarding Halos second baseman Howie Kendrick.  There are no indications a deal is in the works.
  • The Angels are at least listening on infielders Kendrick, Erick Aybar, and Alberto Callaspo, and seeking high quality big league ready pitching in return.
  • The Cubs could move Kevin Gregg and Nate Schierholtz, but are extremely unlikely to trade lefty reliever James Russell and there's just about zero chance of a Jeff Samardzija trade.
  • Pitchers Ian Kennedy and J.J. Putz of the Diamondbacks and Kyle Farnsworth of the Rays "have suddenly been made available."  Trading Kennedy would allow Arizona to clear around $1.4MM toward another move.  Are they that hard up for cash?

West Notes: Angels, Nathan, Diamondbacks, Wilson

The Angels are "open for business," Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan tweets. That means deals for Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick and others could be on the table. It remains to be seen what the Angels might be able to do with less than three days before the deadline, but Kendrick would be a particularly attractive trade candidate — his consistently high batting averages and solid defense make him a dependably productive player, and he's under contract through 2015 at a reasonable cost, making a bit over $9MM both in 2014 and 2015. Aybar isn't having as good a year as Kendrick, but he might make an interesting buy-low candidate. If the Angels are open to selling other players, reliever Scott Downs, who becomes a free agent after this season, would also be an obvious possibility, as CBS Sports' Jon Heyman suggested yesterday. Here are more notes from the West divisions.

  • With a 13-game deficit in the AL West and with Albert Pujols on the disabled list, however, the Angels have "nothing to sell," ESPN's Jim Bowden says (Insider-only). Several of their top players, like Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo, aren't candidates to be dealt, and much of the rest of their roster has been disappointing, which is why they're 13 games back to begin with. That leaves a handful of relievers as the Angels' only viable trade pieces.
  • If the Rangers want to trade Joe Nathan, the Dodgers are the only suitor that makes much sense, Bowden writes (Twitter links). Boston or Detroit could be possible destinations, but Bowden guesses that the Rangers won't relish the possibility of dealing Nathan to the Red Sox or Tigers and then having to face him in the playoffs. Instead, they could send him to L.A., possibly in a deal involving Andre Ethier.
  • The Diamondbacks are looking for a second bullpen lefty, FOXSportsArizona.com's Jack Magruder tweets.
  • Five teams, four of them from the National League, are interested in former Giants closer Brian Wilson, who's returning from Tommy John surgery, tweets Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown.

Angels, Kendrick Agree To Four-Year Deal

The Angels have reached an agreement with Howie Kendrick on a four-year contract, the team announced. The deal is worth $33.5MM, Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times tweets.  It will cover the 28-year-old's final year of arbitration and first three years of free agency.

Kendrick is coming off of his best season to date as he hit .285/.338/.464 with 18 homers in 583 plate appearances. Earlier this week, GM Jerry Dipoto confirmed that he opened up talks with the agents for Kendrick and Erick Aybar.  Like Kendrick, Aybar also has one year of arbitration eligibility remaining.

Last night, our own Mark Polishuk examined the second baseman's case for an extension.  According to MLBTR's projections, Kendrick was set to earn $5.2MM in 2012 through arbitration.

By signing an extension with the Angels, Kendrick avoids having to contend with fellow second baseman Brandon Phillips on the open market next offseason.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the deal and Bob Nightengale of USA Today added the contract value. 


Extension Candidate: Howie Kendrick

Icon_13327373Lack of batting titles aside, Howie Kendrick has developed into a solid homegrown star for the Halos.  The 28-year-old is coming off the finest of his six Major League seasons (a career-high 18 homers and a .285/.338/.464 slash line) and with free agency just a season away, the Angels are looking to lock Kendrick up to a multiyear extension.  The Angels have certainly not hesitated to spend money this winter, so let's examine how much it might cost them to sign Kendrick for the long term.

Kendrick turns 29 on July 12 and is entering his last year of arbitration eligibility, where MLBTR projects he will earn around $5.2MM for his 2012 contract.  Rickie Weeks is a decent comparable; he was about to enter his age-28 season and his final round of arbitration last spring when the Brewers signed him to a four-year, $38.5MM extension that also included an $11.5MM vesting option for 2015 based on plate appearances.  A similar vesting option might be preferred by the Angels, given Kendrick's spotty injury history early in his career.

Weeks' value is in his power and his ability to take walks, whereas Kendrick delivers a higher batting average powered by singles and doubles.  Despite these different skillsets, Weeks (106 OPS+ through 642 career games) and Kendrick (105 OPS+ through 655 games) delivered almost the same offensive value through the same point in their careers.

Brian Roberts is another second baseman worth including in this comparison.  Roberts had a 98 OPS+ through the first 665 games of his career but his offensive value was boosted by 136 career steals and the best single-season performance of the trio — a .314/.387/.515 campaign in 2005.  Roberts avoided his second time through arbitration by signing a $4.2MM contract for 2007 and a month later inked a two-year, $14.3MM extension that covered both his final arb year and his first free-agent year.  The Angels will surely want to extend Kendrick for more than just two years, so perhaps Roberts' next extension (a four-year, $40MM deal that runs through 2013) could be the better model.

There are two other factors that weigh against Kendrick.  Firstly, he has yet to enjoy the true superstar campaign that Roberts enjoyed in 2005 or Weeks had in 2010; while Kendrick certainly played well in 2011, his .338 BABIP suggests he enjoyed some good luck along the way.  Kendrick's career .329 OBP is also a red flag as to whether or not he can still develop the patience necessary to be a real force at the plate.

Secondly, Roberts and Weeks were the clear choice at second base for their respective clubs, whereas Kendrick has to contend with Jean Segura.  Segura was rated as the 57th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America prior to the 2011 season and Minor League Ball's John Sickels rated him the third-best prospect in the Angels' system in his most recent rankings.  Segura was moved to shortstop in 2011 and, according to Sickels, "adapted well…although I've talked with people who think he'll still end up at 2B."  Should L.A. decide that Segura is best served at second, Kendrick could be moved to third base or left field, where his bat won't play nearly as well.  With all this said, Segura is still just 21 years old and hasn't played higher than the high Class-A level.  When and if the time Segura is ready for the Major Leagues, Kendrick's extension might already be up.

Let's project Kendrick for a four-year deal that covers his last arbitration season and his first four free agent seasons.  Kendrick can receive $4.5MM in 2012 (slightly below Matt Swartz's projection but teams usually get a bit of a discount on arb years in multiyear contracts), then $11MM in each of the following three seasons.  It all adds up to a four-year, $37.5MM contract that LAA may consider augmenting with a club option year as well. 

Would such an extension be worth it for Kendrick?  An $11MM average annual value would roughly match what Kendrick would get on the open market next winter if he replicates his 2011 numbers this season.  The free agent second base market is usually pretty thin, though the 2013 crop could also see Brandon Phillips and Kelly Johnson available (barring something unforeseen, Robinson Cano and Ian Kinsler will obviously have their options exercised). 

Kendrick hasn't made his thoughts about an extension known, but one would think he would enjoy staying with a team that looks poised to contend for years to come.  The four-year, $37.5MM offer could very well get it done and give Angels GM Jerry Dipoto yet another notable achievement in his first offseason running the team.  

Photo courtesy of John Cordes/Icon SMI


Angels Open Extension Talks With Kendrick, Aybar

The Angels opened extension talks with the agents for second baseman Howie Kendrick and shortstop Erick Aybar, GM Jerry Dipoto told Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times. Both infielders are entering their final year of arbitration, but Dipoto has interest in keeping them in Anaheim beyond 2012.

“At this point, it’s something we’ve begun to explore and will continue to explore,” Dipoto said. “There is no timetable, but certainly, it’s something we’re interested in pursuing.”

Kendrick, a 28-year-old Reynolds Sports Management client, posted a .285/.338/.464 line with a career-best 18 homers in 2011. MLBTR projects a $5.2MM salary for him in 2012. That's $500K more than Aybar, who comes in at $4.7MM in our projections. SFX represents the 27-year-old Aybar, who posted a .279/.322/.421 line with 30 stolen bases as the Angels' shortstop in 2011.


Los Angeles Notes: Selig, Kuo, Kendrick, Trumbo

It was on this day in 2004 that Alex Cora (then with the Dodgers) engaged the Cubs' Matt Clement in an epic at-bat.  In the bottom of the seventh, Cora fouled off 14 consecutive pitches from Clement before finally sending the 18th pitch of the at-bat over the fence for a two-run homer.  Los Angeles went on to win the game 4-0, and Cora went on to hit a career-high 10 home runs that season.

Some news items from both of Los Angeles' teams…

  • Commissioner Bud Selig said the outcome of MLB's investigation into the Dodgers' finances is not "predetermined," as Frank McCourt claimed weeks ago.  "We wouldn't have to go through all this if it was predetermined. I'm doing it because I think it is the right thing to do," Selig said.  Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times has the full transcript of Selig's remarks to the media.
  • Hong-Chih Kuo's agent says his client isn't considering retiring due to his latest bout with "the yips," reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.  Kuo was put on the disabled list yesterday with anxiety disorder.  The left-hander has an 11.57 ERA in 4 2/3 innings of work with the Dodgers in 2011 after posting a 1.96 ERA over the previous three seasons.
  • This is Kuo's second bout of the yips in his career, and the fact that he has overcome these issues before is a good sign, Pirates broadcaster Steve Blass tells Ken Gurnick.  Blass would know — the yips became known as "Steve Blass Disease" in the early 1970's when Blass went from one of the Bucs' top starters to unable to throw the ball over the plate.
  • Howie Kendrick's hot start is largely due to such unsustainable peripheral stats as a .396 BABIP, writes Chris Cwik of Fangraphs.  However, as Cwik notes, "Even with the regression, Kendrick might post the most valuable season of his career."   
  • The Angels are keeping calm over the news that Kendrys Morales will be out of the season, reports MLB.com's Lyle Spencer.  "It messed us up last year when we lost Morales," said Torii Hunter.  "It was a huge blow. We didn't know how we'd replace him, and we struggled all year with it…This year, we've adjusted. He's not here. We've played without Kendrys now."  Mark Trumbo will get the bulk of the playing time at first base and while Trumbo is inexperienced, as Spencer recalls, "few experts thought Morales could replace Mark Teixeira" at first for the Halos in 2009.

Players To Avoid Arbitration: Tuesday

Today is the deadline for players and teams to submit arbitration figures. The sides will then settle on a salary between the team's proposed number and the player's proposed number or go to an arbitration hearing. Arbitration eligible players are under team control, so the clubs don't risk losing them – it's a question of how much the players will earn.

Yesterday, 11 players avoided arbitration. We could see just as many agreements trickle in today and we'll keep you posted on them right here and with our Arb Tracker. The latest updates will be at the top of the post:

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