Howie Kendrick Rumors

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'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,'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  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'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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Players To Avoid Arbitration: Tuesday

Noon ET today was the deadline for both the team and player to submit their salary figures for arbitration, however the two sides can come to an agreement at any point before the actual hearing. The hearings are scheduled for the first week of February.

We'll keep track of the players who avoid arbitration today by agreeing to deals here. Make sure you check back in for updates, and be sure to click the "Continue Reading" link to see today's full list of settlements.  Yesterday's list can be found here.

  • Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels avoided arbitration with Mike Napoli and Reggie Willits by signing the duo to one-year deals.  Napoli will earn $3.6MM in 2010 with a $100K bonus if he makes 120 starts.  Willits' contract is worth $625K. 
  • Zach Duke's one-year contract with Pittsburgh is worth $4.3MM with no performance bonuses, tweets Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • The Padres and reliever Mike Adams have agreed to a contract, reports's Corey Brock (via Twitter).  Brock's follow-up tweet says Adams' deal is worth $1MM, virtually splitting the difference between San Diego's $875K offer and Adams' $1.2MM demands.
  • Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets that the Twins have agreements in place with all eight of their arbitration eligible players.  In a follow-up tweet, Christensen reports that Francisco Liriano agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.6MM and Jesse Crain agreed to a one-year contract worth $2MM.
  • Marc Carig of the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that the Mets avoided arbitration with reliever Sean Green (via Twitter).  The one-year deal was worth $975K, according to the New York Daily News' Anthony McCarron.
  • The Tigers avoided arb with Gerald Laird and Zach Miner as well according to James Jahnke of The Detroit Free Press.'s Jason Beck tweets the details on the one-year contracts: Laird will earn $3.95MM, Miner will earn $950K.
  • Christensen tweets that the Twins avoided arb with Brendan Harris, signing him to a two year deal worth $3.2MM with another $650K in possible incentives.
  • The Tigers and Bobby Seay avoided arbitration according to's Jason Beck (via Twitter), agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.475MM.
  • Thesier tweets that Matt Guerrier agreed to a one year deal worth $3.15MM with the Twins, avoiding arb.
  • Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe tweets that the Red Sox have avoided arbitration with Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen, with Delcarmen getting $905K plus incentives according to Joe McDonald of The Providence Journal. Boston avoided arb with Jonathan Papelbon as well.


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