The Toronto Blue Jays And Howie Kendrick Is A Move That Makes Sense
The Toronto Blue Jays off-season has a 2nd basemen near the top of the off-season wishlist along with starting pitching and a catcher. At the trade deadline this past season there was notable interest by the Blue Jays brass in the Los Angeles Angels starting second basemen Howie Kendrick, someone who would instantly fulfill the Blue Jays need for a legit second basemen, something the Blue Jays truly havent had since Aaron Hill. Kelly Johnson was a decent fill in for 1.5 seasons but nothing compared to what Howie Kendrick could be for the Blue Jays.
Kendrick has been with the Angels organization for his entire career and has been quite a good offensive second basemen. Kendrick owns a career .292 batting average with 71 home runs, 426 RBI, and 81 stolen bases. His best season was in 2011 when he was invited the MLB all-star game and finished the campaign with a .285 batting average, to go along with 18 home runs and 63 RBI while adding 14 stolen bases. The consistency with the bat is what Kendrick brings to the table offensively, and he chips in with decent power and modest speed. Kendrick also brings a nice glove to the table, as evidenced by his .986 fielding percentage at his primary position of second base. If need be, Kendrick can play at 1st base and even left and centre field. He is a versatile player.
Why Howie Kendrick over anyone else on the trade or free agent market? Kendrick has a team friendly contract, and is now entering the 3rd year of his deal, which was signed prior to the 2012 season at 4 years for 33.5 million dollars which is just shy of 8.5 million a season. The Blue Jays are rumored to be increasing payroll to about 150 million for the 2015 season and they saved 14 million by not extending a qualifying offer to Josh Johnson. The Blue Jays easily have the salary to make it work. Kendrick is also 30 years old and is in the prime of his career. He would be under the control of the Blue Jays for the next two seasons.
Acquiring Kendrick also would make sense for both teams as the Angels have been rumored to be dangling Kendrick in order to fill their need for starting pitching. The key is, the Angels want to add starting pitching without taking on to much salary and the Blue Jays could fill this need. The Blue Jays are also looking for starting pitching but have fringe pitchers who may not get a chance at the major leagues, especially if the Blue Jays are active in the free agent market for adding pitching, as they have been rumored to names like Ubaldo Jimenez and others. The Jays could move pieces like Drew Hutchison, Sean Nolin, Esmil Rogers, J.A. Happ, or Chad Jenkins. Obviously, a package would be made in order to land Kendrick but any one of these guys make sense to move considering R.A. Dickey, Brandon Morrow, and Mark Buehrle are virtual locks for the 2014 rotation along with whoever else they may add.
A final reason a deal to land Howie Kendrick makes sense is the Angels have depth at catcher, a position the Blue Jays are also looking to add. Hank Conger and Chris Iannetta are names swirling around the Blue Jays rumor mill and one or the other could be added to a package with Kendrick.
For the three reasons I mentioned, I think there could be a realistic chance the Blue Jays make a push to land Kendrick in a trade with the Angels. They could fill two positional needs in one deal by acquiring Kendrick and one of Conger or Iannetta and fill the starting pitching void via free agency. Do not be surprised to hear Howie Kendrick and the Blue Jays in the same sentence throughout the off-season, an addition I think makes complete sense for the Blue Jays as opposed to anyone else on the trade or free agent market.