Matt Klentak has made it clear over the past week that he's not afraid to take on a veteran player via trade, especially when the player coming back in return is owed a decent sum of change for just a season.
Klentak worked out a deal on Friday, acquiring veteran Howie Kendrick from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Darin Ruf and Darnell Sweeney.
Kendrick, 33, is owed $10 million in 2017 and is a free agent after the season. He has played the majority of his career as a second baseman but transitioned to the outfield last season. Klentak views him as a left fielder, but his addition opens up the possibility of moving Cesar Hernandez if the right offer comes along.
Kendrick hit.255 last season to go along with eight homers and 40 RBIs, a down year in comparison to the previous five seasons where he combined to hit .291 with an OPS of .758 and a 114 OPS+
“Howie Kendrick brings a proven, veteran presence to our young lineup,” said Klentak. “He is a hard worker, a great teammate and a true professional hitter. In addition, Howie’s defensive versatility provides significant flexibility to our roster, which should prove to be valuable to our club in 2017. I am very pleased to welcome Howie to the Phillies.”
Drafted by the Angels in the 10th round of the 2002 amateur draft, Kendrick spent nine seasons in Orange County before being traded to the Dodgers following the 2014 season. He was named an All-Star in 2014.
The move is low risk, high reward. If Kendrick bounces back he'll be a trade chip come September. If nothing else though, he's a veteran bat that will act as a bridge while the Phillies move from rebuilding status to a contender.
“We believe Howie Kendrick is definitely a candidate to have a bounceback year,” Klentak said. “A lot of the underlying more advanced statistics would suggest he got a bit unlucky last year. He’s still very good at squaring up the baseball and making solid contact.”