Phillies Acquire Kendrick

In a trade completed this afternoon, the Phillies sent Darin Ruf and Darnell Sweeney to the Los Angeles Dodgers and received Howie Kendrick in exchange.

Kendrick brings a $10M salary as baggage, but enters the final year of his contract in 2017. Ruf was likely to be non-tendered this off season and Sweeney returns to the Dodgers organization (he was acquired by the Phillies in the 2015 Chase Utley deal) after posting a .176/.286/.353 in a short stint with the Phillies in 2015 and and equally unimpressive .233/.299/.345 with Lehigh Valley in 2016.

Kendrick started 112 games at second base in 2015, but played mostly in left field in 2016, 79 of 112 starts.  It’s not immediately clear if his arrival will have a greater affect on Phillies’ second baseman Cesar Hernandez or maybe outfielders, Cody Asche and Aaron Altherr.  Kendrick will take Ruf’s spot on the 40-man roster which remains at 33.

MLB Trade Rumors reported the trade with some excellent commentary here.

70 thoughts on “Phillies Acquire Kendrick

    1. Agreed… Bye Cesar. Sad to see him go, but he’s not without flaw. The team chose Freddy for his sick defense. And we still have two openings in the outfield to fill. Great move!

    2. Kendrick demonstrated defensive diversity last season. He played 94 games in LF last season, 32 at 2B, 17 at 3B and 11 at 1B. He’ll make for a good bounce back candidate as he moves from a pitcher’s park to the Bank. Phillies will likely be in position to move him at the deadline for something more valuable than Ruf and Sweeney.

      Considering what we gave up, I like it.

      1. I will disagree. Look at what we gave up for him. Two guys that couldn’t cut it on our Phillies. One of the worst teams in baseball. How well is he going to have to do to get back something better in return? Assuming he hits .280 with a fair, .330 obp, teams are not going to be lining up to unload real prospects for two months of that.

        Howie Kendrick has a long track record of good numbers. Last year was a blip. I’m sure there are plenty of teams who realize that and if he was in such high demand, anyone could’ve beaten our offer. $10M wasn’t a deterrence to teams needing a quality, versatile player.

        1. Andrew R……you could get a low-A ‘lottery pick’ prospect for his two-month rental.
          So looking for a big payoff may not be there.
          Personally…if the new CBA allows it to occur again…I would trade him in July for Slot 2,3, or 4 international money from a team over their penalty limit, but that scenario may never exist again after Dec 1st.

    3. “There may not be a more professional hitter than Howie Kendrick,” Klentak said. “He’s the definition of a professional hitter. He’s been steady his entire career. He’s one of the hardest working guys in the league, and he can hit anywhere in the lineup and be productive.
      Manager Pete Mackanin “and I have spoken over the past several months. This is the type of player that we really wanted to add to our lineup. I think Howie is going to have a legitimate impact on our young group.”
      …I guess the Phillies have their guy, their starting LFer, at least until July anyway.

  1. First, getting Kendrick for 2 players that have no future with the Phillies is great. We could easily absorb his contract, and he could have a bounce back year and get flipped at the trade deadline. But I think this is a precursor to a Cesar trade, who is generating strong interest at the meetings. It’ll be interesting to see what we can get for Cesar.

  2. Kendrick serves as a stop-gap at 2b until either Kingery or Valentin are ready to take over the job in 2018.

    Will be a good move if they can turn Hernandez into a good trade piece..

  3. If the Angels need 2nd base help perhaps Cesar is their answer. But they also could go FA and two players available are Chase and Neil Walker., both of whom would represent an offensive upgrade at the position.. They both would work well in their monetary budget crunch on short-term deals.
    As for their farm system and prospect(s) in return for CeHe…they are in a real drought, not sure what they would be willing to give up or what the Phillies would want.

    1. Romus – Matt Thaiss is generally considered the Angels’ top prospect. He was drafted 16th overall in this year’s draft out of Virginia (believe he was a junior when drafted). He’s a serious LH bat with defensive shortcomings, and while he played C at Virginia, he may be limited to 1B professionally.

      Would the Angels give him up for Cesar? I”m not really sure. It’s difficult for me to gauge the market value for Cesar. I would think they would, but are the Phillies aiming even higher given the years of control remaining? It will be interesting to see this play out. I’d say one last thing – if he isn’t moved before OD, and then goes out and puts up 2nd half 2016 numbers, there’s going to be a lot more teams interested in his services by the time the July deadline arrives. Funny how Cesar has suddenly become a sought after asset.

      1. Steve……see where you are going with, Thaiss as a first baseman, rated their top prospect, really reflects the quality of their farm system. First baseman are rarely ever rated a team’s best prospect. If it came down to it…their second by MLB….Jones the OFer, would interest me more in exchange for Cesar.
        And agree…..Cesar;s 2nd half spurt really has increased his interest…not sure about his value however.
        And you are correct……how do you gauge his return/market value?
        Ironically, if Valentin starts out raking in April and May at LHV, and Kingery the same at Reading…..teams will know then the Phillies will have to sell low on Cesar because the prospects are forcing their hand. Of course, Valentin may not be protected next week and may get selected in Dec, so that’s a moot point with him.

        1. Right about Kingery and Valentin, and could even add Galvis who is expected to lose his starting gig some time in June (hopefully), not to mention Kendrick himself as a 2B option.

          I get the concern re Valentin. I don’t want to lose him. And I think there is little chance we will.

          1. Steve…..can understand that….GM hate to lose their surplus prospects…Cherington was that way in Boston, did not want to trade any of his “close-to-MLB ready”, started hoarding them ….so he ended up losing his job. Dave D. comes in and starts trading them.

  4. I heard Cesar was reportedly generating trade interest from other teams. The Phillies said that Kendrick was going to play LF, but do you think that they might trade Cesar and have Kendrick play 2B? Or keep both any trade Kendrick at trade deadline if he does well in the first half of the season?

  5. People may be forgetting that Kendrick hasn’t played 2B since 2015 . . . This might be outfield help. Just throwing that out there. (Haven’t read any articles yet so if it’s already been said that’s he’s going to 2B I apologize)

    1. Then we should hope he becomes a good trade piece by the trade deadline this season, trying to get the Phillies some decent prospects!

    2. I think Cesar is tradeable regardless of Kendrick. I would think Klentak would hope for Crawford to be up by June, and Galvis can slide over to 2B. With Kendrick capable of playing there in a pinch, Cesar is truly expendable, and we will probably get a return much better than what we gave up for Kendrick.

      Klentak is a shrewd GM

  6. Good consolidation trade. Traded two nickels for a quarter. I was wondering how they were going to clean up that 2nd base, prospect logjam. This is the 1st shoe to drop.

  7. Hope Ruf does well in LA. Sweeney seems like a good kid with a low ceiling but might be useful as he gets older. But you have to likeep any trade which addresses a need on the big club without giving up anything in your future. Right on, Matt!

  8. If Kendrick will play LF regularly or Hernandez is traded for an OF piece, this could be a net benefit to the lineup. It doesn’t help the 40 man roster logjam because Ruf comes off and Kendrick comes on. As people have stated above, he can be flipped at trade deadline for a long term prospect or two. He’s in the last year of his current deal and having a big year could put some decent cash in his pocket so has a huge incentive plus playing in CBP could help his stats. The only downside would be, he was unhappy playing the OF in LA. If Hernandez is retained, he might be unhappy here too. But that looming contract could be incentive for him to say, “Put me in coach. I’m ready to play today.” It won’t be CF but anywhere they want him, he should be ready to play.

  9. Kendrick gives Phillies flexibility as he can play 2B,and LF primarily or even 1B or 3B. Cesar Hernandez does not need to be traded, but if the right offer was made then yes do so and Kendrick can cover that spot until Crawford takes over at SS and Galvis slides over to 2B. Or keep Hernandez and Kendrick could be a trade deadline candidate to add prospects.

    Now this was a good trade as the $10million can be absorbed and Sweeney had already been removed from the 40 man roster and Ruf was a possible non-tender. Sweeney has also been over taken by several prospects including Valentine and Kingery. The Phillies may have a roster crunch at 2B in the upper levels of the minors anyway and likely needed to weed a few players out. As for Ruf he is a right handed 1B that can play OF some but was expendable with Joseph (MLB) and Hoskins (AAA promotion likely) both being right handed first basemen also.

    I still see a need for left handed bat to play somewhere on this team so I expect another move to be made.

  10. Of course Klentak said Kendrick will be the left fielder. Very few gms announce their offseason plans to the rest of the world. Trading Cesar makes way too much sense at this point. Galvis stays at short until Crawford is ready….however long it takes. Kendrick plays second either for half the season (until he gets traded) or the whole year (if he does not).

    Klentak has also said he wants a middle if the order bat to take pressure off Franco and Joseph. Keeping Kendrick in left, does not accomplish this. Ideally, the Phil’s add a lefty corner bat to break them up. Whether it’s another salary dump (Ethier, Bruce), or a free agent (Saunders, Reddick), that is the way the Phil’s are headed. Herrera, Kendrick, Franco, lefty, Joseph, Rupp, Galvis, Pitcher, Quinn…. lineup subject to change, obviously.

    Where does Cesar go and how much is he worth? I’m not sure. He’s a nice player who had a really nice 3 months. He has little power, speed that isn’t used properly, lacks a mental game, but plays good defense and can put the bat in the ball. We are not the only team that knows this, so we’re not going to trick anybody into getting their best prospect. But I think he is at least worth a team’s top 5 prospect, plus maybe a MLB-level bullpen piece with posssibly a lottery ticket arm at the lower levels attached. Or any combination of that with international bonus pool money, or a comp pick (if that system remains).

    But if you think we head into camp with Kendrick as our starting left fielder, I have to disagree with you. Quinn, Altherr, and Williams will not be sharing one spot.

    1. No way Williams is in the running out of ST given his disappointing year. Needs a good 1st half at LV to re-establish himself as a top prospect.

    2. As noted above, Kendrick played little 2B in 2016, and was considered below average defensively when he did. For this reason alone, I doubt the Phillies plan to use Kendrick as the regular second baseman, even for half a season. I expect he’ll play second base only as a stopgap measure. But it’s nice to have a guy that can fill in there if necessary. So, yeah, I do think he is already penciled in as the starting LF.

      Based on the last half of the 2016 season, Nick Williams is not likely to be MLB-ready in the spring, and probably needs to play well for at least a few months at AAA before the Phillies seriously consider promoting him. Altherr looks to be a 4th OF type, unless he suddenly becomes a much better hitter. Quinn will be given a shot to win an OF spot, whether it be RF or CF (moving Herrera to RF). If Wuinn can’t do it, he may share time with Altherr, or may even start the season at AAA. But I don’t think there will be three guys sharing one OF spot.

    3. I don’t get the love for Altherr . . He’s not a starting ML OFer. He’s an AAAA guys, think John Mayberry Jr and at best he’s a Ben Fransisco (more athletic). I def don’t start him over OH (obviously) or Kendrick.

  11. I am good with the Trade. The starting OF is Kendrick, Odubel, and Altherr. Quinn, Cozens, and Williams at AAA. If one of the AAA guys merits a promotion you can always slide Kendrick to the bench (assuming Altherr is not struggling)or, if Kendrick is playing well, trade him for a lottery ticket.

  12. They will still add a Left handed bat. A guy who can play 1B and the OF. Maybe a Logan Morrison or Colby Ramus or Jon Jay? A veteran SP and another BP piece.

    1. LH bat that can play OF and 1B – sounds like Kole Calhoun. He would be a great fit in Philly/CBP and Philly fans would love the way he plays the game.

    1. Sam……sounds like he will start and bat in the middle somewhere…Pete Mack already said he wants him hitting in the lineup helping the young players.

        1. Sam, while I think we are all wary of the type of trade you mentioned (just biding time) I think this trade is a bit more than that. This trade has several other benefits. First, they didn’t give up anything they cared about – neither Ruf nor Sweeney were in their future plans. Second, it doesn’t tie them up financially this year and it’s only for one year. Third, because he plays so many positions, it gives them great flexibility not only in using him, but then allowing them to trade other players if they think the value is there. For example, if they get a great trade offer for Cesar, they can flip him because Howie can play second. Fourth, he’s a true professional hitter and most of us think it’s good to have role models for the younger hitters on this team. Fifth, he’s in a contract year so if he does well, they could flip him mid-season for some value. Sixth, he’s still young enough to be a bounce back candidate and put up so nice numbers and I have a feeling he will do that. Seventh, he’s also still young enough that if he turns out to be exceptional and they want to keep him he might still be here when they qualify for the playoffs.

          As I said before, this is one of the more intelligent trades I’ve seen in recent years – if Klentak keeps making moves this smart, we are going to be in very good hands.

  13. Great trade, exactly what I was looking for from Klentak. Essentially a salary dump for a bag of balls. We’ve been looking for a bigger splash with Detroit, but this serves the same need. I’m sure there will be a move for a veteran pitcher once Hellickson declines his QO.

  14. I also don’t get the hate (or a better way to put it, lack of love) for Cesar Hernandez . . I realize he can be frustrating on the bases but outside of that (and that can be improved on much easier then physical skills) he has only gotten better year in and year out. Who’s to say there’s not even more improvement ahead? I’m with Klentak, I wouldn’t look to trade him (which he said, they aren’t looking to trade him) unless I was overwhelmed. All good “problems” to have.

    1. Eric – some of what you describe is the recognition that Hernandez is somewhat expendable for the Phillies at the same time maintaining market value (not all dissimilar from Rupp).

      What makes Cesar expendable in the most near term is Galvis. It is widely believed that JP is your starting SS come June. If he slumps, or is injured, Galvis holds down SS for a longer period. No issue. But if he is promoted as expected, Galvis and his glove displace Cesar at the keystone. Right there, without even considering prospects like Valentin and Kingery who themselves are barely more than a season away, it starts becoming difficult to see a role for Cesar beyond June-July of next year.

      I’m fine if they don’t trade him this off season, but I’d give it better than a 50/50 shot. If he isn’t traded, there won’t be a player on the roster I would be rooting for more come April. If Cesar is still on the team and manages through June with an OPS north of .800, and given his remaining years of control, he’ll be a serious target for buyers at next year’s deadline.

      1. Why do you need to trade him period? If JP comes up and performs Galvis can be a super utility guy, he can play just about everywhere on the inf and LF (he can prob get 3 starts a week) . . . I happen to like Hernandez on a day to day basis over Galvis at 2B (when that time comes) and Like I said Galvis has the advantage of being so versatile. It’s funny I remember my Dad always telling me when I was a kid “If you are going out for a team, try out for as many positions as possible, show them you are versatile. Coaches love having players who can play multiple positions.” I was set as a pitcher so I never really listened to him but I can see in prospects how that was a true statement.

    1. Sam – I think McCuthchen is a good bounce back candidate, but there are also some alarming stats from 2016. He’s now over 30, and his BB rate – while still a solid 10.2%, was a career low, while his 21.2% K rate was a career high by a considerable amount. His K rate the last three seasons beginning with 2013 – 15%, 17.7%, 19.2% and 21.2% last season. A clear trend of less contact there.

      Above notwithstanding, he did have a solid final months, and if you take out a miserable June, he really had a good season. Just seems as if he’s a player who us trending the wrong direction though. Not to mention, he’s a FA after the 2018 season, and if I’m going to give up VV, I think I’d want someone in return who will still be on the roster when the team becomes a contender.

    2. I love Cutch but that isn’t the kind of trade this team should make now. You can’t trade assets for anyone who won’t be here in a few years and at their peak then. No one should be traded for over 24, unless no assets are used. Ruf and Sweeney moving are a good example of a good trade. That was just a salary dump by the Dodgers, perfect for us

    3. Sam……At this point, ViVe actually can bring back more in value than McCutchen….because of his age/financial controls/TOR potential. and thenadd in a catcher like Rupp who for the next 3, maybe 4 years can give you better than average catching performance.

    4. this is the 2nd time that I hear VV name for a proposed McCutchen trade (the 1st one is VV and Jake for Cutch). If the Phils is contending with hole in CF, then this makes sense. But the reality is not, so I don’t understand why it this a win for the Phils unless a GM is a very big fan of Cutch who thinks of himself and not the team.

      1) The Phils have a young productive CF in Doobie and a depth in the position in the farm.
      2) A young potential TOR pitcher is a valuable asset. Despite of health risk, a TOR potential is still a TOR potential. This is a trade that will make or break a GM – so why trade a potential TOR for a player who will not help win the World Series.
      3) SP Market – the current market drives the value of players. In a thin SP market with no available #1/#2 — why not try to get a significant haul for a young TOR pitcher in VV?

      This trade is only a win for the Pirates and anybody who thinks it’s a good trade – not the for the Phils.

        1. @sam – buy low means you don’t give up a lot (or you give up less for what’s the current value). I don’t have an issue acquiring Cutch in regardless where they play him. Phils has depth in the farm that they can mix and match to trade. VV is one of the Phils valuable asset (or trade piece), you use your a valuable asset to acquire something of similar value not below. Maybe Cutch can have a come back year, but his current value is low. Rupp and Lively for Cutch probably can work. VV? Trade him to the NYY and the Phils can probably get at least 2 very good piece that will help the team by the team they compete.

  15. As we go round and round about “….what’s on second?”, it’s my opinion that the strength of this lineup moving forward is defined mostly by what we have up the middle. If our future ‘middle’ is Alfaro, Crawford, Kingery and Moniak (though some might suggest Herrera or Quinn), none of them are here just yet. As long as we have power at 2 or 3 of the 4 corners, things are looking up. Kendrick offers stability for the time being. In the meantime let’s all hope the power which suits CBP is coming fairly soon from guys like Cozens, Hoskins, Williams, Ortiz, Franco and/or maybe Machado?

  16. If you guys think we enter next season with Kendrick as our starting left fielder and Hernandez as our starting second baseman, Klentak did not do his job.

    Steve (Tampa) said it pretty well when he said Cesar holds his market value but is expendable. I am confident that Klentak makes a move with Cesar to obtain something better. Maybe he needs to build a package, but this is what is known as selling high right now. Cesar, at age 26, finally put together a solid 3-month stretch to bring his OPS over .750 for the first time in his mlb career. How much higher is the ceiling? Honestly?

    Kendrick playing second, with the addition of a corner outfield bat, makes the most sense. We will improve the team as they push towards respectability. Kendrick will not be the only piece added this winter. That is essentially what people are saying/believing when they anoint Kendrick opening day left fielder.

    1. However in the projectable world…JPC is up for good in May/June, Galvis slides over….and Cesar becomes expendable.
      So the question…will Klentak take a somewhat moderate risk and move CeHe this off-season with the projection JPC is ready before the all-star break….or does he wait and keep CeHe, but then if JPC is ready, CeHe becomes surplus or Freddy becomes surplus and their trade value slips because clubs now know one has to go

      The next month will determine Klentak’s philosophy and his apt for risk taking. Trading CeHe next month gets his best value in return, holding him is playing it safe, but could be lowering his value come July if he gets hurt or regresses..
      Ruben faced a similar scenario with Hamels a few years ago…he waited until July and right now appears to be rewarded for the wait.

      1. I get what you’re saying Romus, makes perfect sense.

        Ruben played it correctly with Cole Hamels. But Cole Hamels also had a lesser chance of regression than Cesar does going into this season. Cole has several 5+ WAR seasons and finished top 10 in CY voting a few times as well. Cesar is coming off his first extended success. I think there’s just enough potential to make other teams think, “maybe he could be an everyday regular.”

        And part of Cesar’s deficiency is the mental side. You can’t teach that. You either have it or don’t. And he doesn’t.

        1. Andrew…agree.
          Cole’s resume was a lot more advanced than Cesar’s.
          I was actually looking at the possibility of injury, even the minor strains which seem to glow red-hot on return value charts when they occur to pitchers.
          Case in point…Cliff Lee in May 2014…..Ruben was ready to market him in June and he goes two consecutive games of 115 plus pitches and ends up starting the decline with the tendon.

      2. @romus – Cesar’s value doesn’t have the upside of a Cole Hamels. the difference between Cesar and Hamels is that Coles is a legitimate MLB stud with solid MLB track record. RAJ can hold Cole and his proven track record will not easily erode his value. Unlike Cesar, one injury or a bad month and he will be a forgotten men.

        Cesar is probably once a highly touted prospect – but only in a shallow Phillies farm and not MLB wide.

        Cesar will have a fruitful MLB career in the next 5 years but his value has no big upside, I don’t expect that it will be significantly higher come July trade deadline.

        1. KuKo….did not say anything about their value.
          But if you want to get into those semantics….Hamels’ age and contract were/are more of a detractor than CeHe’s.
          So on the pro and con ledger…..Hamels has the resume of success, CeHe has the potential and amenities of age and future monetary benefits.
          And yes agree…if Cesar falters in April and May, then his value is significantly lowered.
          For all we know Cesar could be the next Jose Altuve or the next Michael Martinez.
          It is all about risk

          1. @romus – i see your point. I’ve already have my eyes on Kingery-JPC combo so I’ve moved on from Cesar. I see Cesar as a low upside type of player, so if I play my GM hat — I don’t roll my dice on low upside players that’s why I will dispose them the time that their value exceeds my projected net worth.

            And at the same time, even though Appel looks like a bust considering his draft position, I view him as “high upside” player so I’m willing to roll the dice for him.

            1. KuKo…also understand MK was trying to move Cesar last off-season with no buyers….but his second half spurt now has generated interest. Sell high I say.

    2. Andrew R….one more thing.
      We may know what MK’s intentions are by next Friday…..if he protects Valentin on the 40….he may be more inclined to move Cesar at the winter meetings in Dec. This way he has a safety net if Kendrick gets hurt early on into the season. Also affecting this however is whether or not Blanco is brought back.

  17. Moving around the infield, is it likely we see a left handed hitter acquired to platoon with T Joseph ? and come off the bench as ph ? I am thinking B Moss of St Louis, Justin Morneau (or is he finally shot ?), or a Pedro Alvarez ? Moss can also play OF in a pinch and offers flexibility. All 3 have power and have exhibited (Moss on occasion) good obp. I am concerned that T J injured his wrist in winter ball – updates ????

    1. it certainly would be nice to have a guy who can play first and outfield rather than just first, as it just seems to really limit the flexibility of the manager when you have two first base only guys.

  18. Two ideas: first of all to second the suggestion of going after Calhoun to man right field and, if needed, platoon with TJ at first. Not great power but good, lot of doubles, not that many Ks, very decent BB, better than average fielding and just 29.
    Second, with all the talk about trading CH and sliding Freddy over to second when Crawford is ready, I would suggest that while CH does not have the defensive ability of Freddy he seems to be on the road to becoming a good contact hitter and could well improve on the bases. If Crawford is ready by June, I would suggest keeping CH and trading Freddy or cutting Blanco (extra roster spot) and keeping FG as a talented multiposition utility player.

  19. Joseph is the starting 1B, there will not be any platooning. No one like Moss is coming here to not play. The Phils would certainly like a good bench bat who can play 1b but it’s not a certainty they can find one. Asche could end up being that guy. As for Galvis, they love his intangibles so I don’t think he’s going anywhere.

    1. Murray …agree.
      Asche looks to be like a Dobbs type role player for them going forward. He has been taking reps at first base since Sept @LHV
      Maybe that is his best role.

  20. Romus, I understand that players may not want to come if they are looking at a platoon situation. But the Phils got Werth and Geoff Jenkins with the intention of platooning, and indeed, started the season that way. Werth won the every day job. If the best that the Phils can do for that Left handed bat to play 1B and OF is Asche, then Klentak has fallen short of doing his job.

    1. matt13…I am not disagreeing with you….just it looks like that is what the Phillies may want to do right now with Asche. Those last few games at LHV they put him over at first base I guess was an experiment.
      However, if he is on the team at ST and he ends up mopping up over at first in some of the spring training games…you will have your answer. That would also have to be something he buys into, basically a career change for him at age 26/27..

      1. Romus, I would rather just bring Stassi up to start the season as a platoon with TJ. At least he gives you a glove. Asche is a non-entity in my humble opinion, and a waste of a 25 man roster spot on a rebuild with better options. I hope he is non-tendered.

    1. I like the Rasmus idea. I am not overly found of Altherr. Didnt really tear the cover off the ball in the minors, what makes us think he does it in the majors? Showing a sign here or there and having no consistency is not a recipe for success to me.

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