Early this offseason, the Phillies traded 1B/OF Darin Ruf and Utility player Darnell Sweeney to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for 2B/LF Howie Kendrick. Ruf struggled throughout his career with the Phillies and failed to make his mark on the team in 2016. Sweeney didn’t fair much better with the Phillies after being part of the return for Chase Utley. He appeared in some games in 2015 and showed some promise as a bench player, but didn’t appear at all in the MLB in 2016. Kendrick, who started his career with the Angels, moved to the Dodgers after 9 years, and the trade to Philly marks the first time in his career he will not be playing in Los Angeles. The 33-year-old 2nd baseman spent the past two seasons with the Dodgers, but made the switch to also playing left field as Chase Utley proved to still be productive enough to have a starting, albeit limited role with the club.
Phillies GM Matt Klentak said after the trade was completed that Kendrick will most likely start in left field for the Phillies in the upcoming season. That is a pretty clear indication that highly touted prospects Nick Williams, Roman Quinn, and Dylan Cozens will probably not start the season in the Major League. This move also gives Klentak the freedom to shop a hot player like Cesar Hernandez freely, since Kendrick could always move back to his natural position at 2nd base.
The trade makes sense for both teams. The Dodgers needed to dump a large salary off their books, and Kendrick makes $10 million this year before becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The Phillies needed veteran leadership in the lineup after both Carlos Ruiz and Ryan Howard departed the club either during or after the 2016 season. The Phillies will look for Kendrick to instantly provide leadership in the clubhouse and on the field, while providing stability at the top of the lineup.
Welcome Howie Kendrick to Philadelphia.Author: Elijah Tatgenhorst (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)