Howie Kendrick Rumors

Cafardo On Free Agency, Price, Nathan, Lackey

Free agents are not allowed to negotiate with all 30 MLB clubs until 11:01 pm (CT) Monday, but agent Scott Boras says his phone was ringing off the hook regarding Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Drew within hours of the Red Sox winning the World Series, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Yankees will be the most interesting team during free agency, according to Cafardo, but will be hamstrung until a decision is made on Alex Rodriguez's appeal. Cafardo also lists the Phillies, Tigers, Giants, Orioles, Blue Jays, and Rangers as active participants in the free agent market. In other tidbits from his Sunday Baseball Notes column:


Cafardo On Arroyo, Kendrick, Braun, Cano

Timing is everything in baseball and Joe Girardi is hitting the open market at the perfect time, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes.  The Cubs always saw landing Girardi as a longshot, but they'll give it another go this winter.  From the Yankees perspective, they'd be foolish not to lock Girardi up with a lucrative new deal, in Cafardo's opinion.  Few managers, he argues, could have survived the injuries that the Yankees were dealing with and kept them in the playoff chase in September.  If Girardi bails for Chicago or elsewhere, Cafardo suggests Don Mattingly as a candidate.  Of course, the Dodgers would have to fire him or work out a trade for that to happen.  Here's more from today's column..

  • Bronson Arroyo says he wants a three-year deal and he feels his time in Cincinnati is likely over. “I have no preference on where I want to pitch but I’ll certainly consider the team, their chances of winning, and all of that,” he said. “I feel I can pitch effectively at 37, 38, and 39 years old. I’ve never missed a start. Never been injured. I’m not a max-effort guy out there, so there’s no big-time wear and tear on me. I loved Cincinnati but I don’t think they’re in position to give me what I want.” Cafardo suggests the Blue Jays, Orioles, Brewers, Cubs, Giants, Pirates, Cardinals, and Dodgers as possibilities.
  • It's looking increasingly likely that Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick will be traded for pitching or prospects. The Royals need second base help and would have interest.  The Orioles may also be interested if they cut ties with Brian Roberts this winter.  The O's haven't decided what to do with Roberts just yet but they wouldn't go beyond a one-year deal to keep him. 
  • It has been suggested that the Brewers could trade Ryan Braun, but finding someone willing to take on his baggage and lucrative deal could be tricky.  “I don’t think he’s going anywhere. Someone would have to take a big chance and nobody’s doing that on PED guys, especially for that length of contract,” said one exec.
  • Bench coach Tony Pena is not likely to replace Girardi as manager if he goes elsewhere. “I don’t think anyone in our front office is even thinking about that,” said one Yankees official.
  • Many believe that the Dodgers won't be serious players for Robinson Cano, but things can change with an early exit from the playoffs.

Angels To Explore Trading Kendrick In Offseason

Over the coming offseason, the Angels will explore the possibility of adding young, starting pitching through a trade of 30-year-old second baseman Howie Kendrick, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The club came close to dealing Kendrick to the cross-town Dodgers at the trade deadline, which reportedly would have netted a top pitching prospect in Zach Lee. Heyman adds that the club is less interested in shopping Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos, and Erick Aybar, each of whom is controlled through 2017. 

Kendrick inked a four-year, $33.5MM extension after a big 2011 campaign in which he posted a .285/.338/.464 triple-slash to go with fourteen steals and eighteen long balls. Depending upon whether his defense was viewed as excellent or merely average, he contributed between 4.5 WAR (Baseball-Reference) and 5.7 WAR (Fangraphs) that year. After a down 2012 saw his on-base and (especially) power numbers fall, leaving him with a roughly league-average line, Kendrick has rebounded at the plate in 2013 and is currently hitting .301/.341/.437. With his fielding and baserunning ticking slightly up and then back down, Kendrick has been valued as a three-win player over this year and last.

The net is that Kendrick has demonstrated the capacity to be excellent and seems to have established a baseline as an above-average player. He does not turn 31 until next July, and has been resiliant over his career, though he is currently on the DL with a knee injury. With two years and $18.85MM left on his contract, he should be a reasonably attractive commodity on the trade market, although he is certainly not a bargain at this point.

Also benefitting the Angels is the status of Kendrick's no-trade protection, which drops from twelve teams to just six next year (and four in 2015). That should make it easier for the Angels to find compatible trade partners, though one might expect Kendrick's agency (Reynolds Sports Management) to choose keystone-needy, ready-to-spend clubs for the list.

For the Angels, the challenge in shopping Kendrick will be to get sufficient value while avoiding the creation of a new hole at second. To be sure, the Angels face an imbalance between their potent hitting and underwhelming pitching, which Fangraphs' Dave Cameron recently explored. As Cameron notes, however, the staff has not been so bad as to single-handedly keep the club from contending, and the defense shares in the blame for the Halos' inability to prevent runs. As for a replacement, the team seems to see a lot of promise in recent acquisition Grant Green, who has a 108 OPS+ in 95 plate appearances since taking over for the injured Kendrick. But Green has always been considered a project defensively and has been graded harshly by advanced metrics in his short stint thus far.



Angels, Dodgers Discussed Trade For Kendrick In July

The Angels and Dodgers "held extensive trade discussions" about a possible deal that would've sent Howie Kendrick from Angel Stadium to Chavez Ravine, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports.  Negotiations went on right up until the July 31 deadline, a source tells Rosenthal, and Zach Lee would've been part of the package that went back to the Angels in return.  It isn't clear which team backed away from the deal.

Kendrick also drew attention from the Blue Jays and Royals before the deadline as the Angels openly shopped a number of pieces on their roster in an attempt to gauge their trade value and obtain young, MLB-ready pitching.  (Alberto Callaspo and Scott Downs ended up being the only notable Angels moved in July.)  ESPN's Jayson Stark reported on July 30 that the Angels and Dodgers had discussed Kendrick, but there was no indication that a deal was close.

Kendrick has a partial no-trade clause that allows him to block trades to 12 teams, but Rosenthal notes that the Dodgers aren't one of them.  Rosenthal says the Halos are likelier to deal Kendrick than they are Erick Aybar since they think it's easier to find a replacement at second base than at shortstop.  Indeed, Anaheim may already have an in-house second base option in Grant Green.

The Dodgers' pursuit of Kendrick could be a sign, Rosenthal notes, that the team is looking for second base options besides Robinson Cano.  It has been widely speculated that the Dodgers would be one of the very few teams that could meet Cano's salary demands in free agency but we heard earlier today that L.A. might not pursue Cano (or any major free agents) this offseason.

Kendrick, 30, has hit .301/.341/.437 with 11 homers in 451 PA, though hasn't played since August 5 due to a sprained left knee.  He is owed $18.85MM over the 2014-15 seasons, the last two years of his current four-year contract.  According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, Kendrick's limited no-trade protection drops to just six blocked teams in 2014, so the Halos could have a wider array of trade partners in the new year.

Lee, the 28th overall pick of the 2010 draft, was ranked by MLB.com as the sport's 78th-best prospect prior to the 2013 season.  The right-hander has a 3.19 ERA, 8.4 K/9 and 3.9 K/BB ratio in 26 games (23 of them starts) at Double-A this season.  Lee's name has popped up in a few trade rumors in recent years, perhaps most notably in a rumored deal for Matt Garza in July 2012.


Angels Notes: Scioscia, Dipoto, Trout, Pitching

As noted earlier today, the Angels' acquisition of infielder Grant Green from the Athletics looks to be a sound move thus far, but the team still has plenty of holes, namely in the pitching department. Here's more on the Halos…

  • Asked by Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times whether or not GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia would return next season, owner Arte Moreno declined comment. Not surprisingly, Scioscia told Shaikin that he wants to remain with the Angels. He says he has not given any thought to one day managing his hometown Phillies now that Charlie Manuel has been fired.
  • One general manager told Peter Gammons of the MLB Network that the Angels have the two most unmovable contracts in baseball in Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols. The same GM added that they "have no farm system" after trading for Zack Greinke and forfeiting their 2013 first-rounder to sign Hamilton, and they've wasted the inexpensive years of Mike Trout's career.
  • Dipoto failed on his four offseason pitching acquisitions, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times. Ryan Madson, Sean Burnett, Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton have contributed very little for the Halos, which Dipoto himself acknowledged. The team is confident that Burnett will be healthy for 2014, but DiGiovanna writes that Blanton could be released in the offseason and Hanson non-tendered. The thin market for free agent pitching might ultimately lead the Halos to consider trading Mark Trumbo, Peter Bourjos, Erick Aybar or Howie Kendrick for young, controllable pitching help.

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.