Dodgers 2016 Review: Howie Kendrick
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The opening to the 2016 season for Dave Roberts and the Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t pan out as expected. A slew of injured starting pitchers and everyday players such as Andre Ethier and Howie Kendrick required unexpected adjustments to be made.

Along with seven other players, Kendrick began the season on the disabled list. He was hampered by a left calf strain suffered during Spring Training. The Dodgers reinstated Kendrick on April 12, in time for the club’s first home series.

But with Chase Utley at second base, Kendrick was without a position to play. That prompted Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to move the veteran to left field.

Kendrick’s first few months were marred by a prolonged slump. He hit just .151 in April before raising his battling line to a more respectable .237/.293/.320 by the end of June.

July quietly turned into his best month of the season, as the timing and consistency the veteran was known for began to show. Kendrick had 32 hits in 24 games (93 at-bats), with nine doubles, three home runs and 11 RBIs.

He hit .344/.425/.538 for the month and continued to gain Roberts’ full confidence in left field. But Kendrick’s production dipped again over the final months of the regular season and he finished the year batting .255/.326/.366 with 26 doubles, eight home runs and 40 RBIs.

Defensively, Kendrick wasn’t worth any Defensive Runs Saved and posted a 2.4 UZR. He appeared in nine of the Dodgers’ 11 postseason games, totaled five hits in 22 at-bats, including two doubles, and two runs scored.

2016 Highlight

On Aug. 9, the Dodgers held one of their many promotional giveaway nights at Dodger Stadium. The first 40,000 in attendance received a Kendrick bobblehead, as the Dodgers did with other bobbleheads throughout the season.

During the top of the second inning, Aaron Altherr gave the Philadelphia Phillies a two-run lead behind a home run. When the Dodgers came to bat in the bottom of the second, they responded loud and clear.

Joc Pederson slapped an RBI single and was followed by Kendrick. On his very own bobblehead night, Kendrick jumped on a 2-0 fastball for a two-run homer to straightaway center field. He finished the night 2-for-4 with a home run, one run scored and three RBIs.

The win pulled the Dodgers even with the San Francisco Giants in the National League West.

2017 Outlook

Kendrick’s end to the 2016 season wasn’t as smooth as one would expect. His role further diminished with the emergence of Andrew Toles, and it left Kendrick preferring to be traded rather than return for another season with the Dodgers.

Los Angeles found a trade partner in the Phillies, sending Kendrick to Philadelphia in exchange for Darrin Ruf and Darnell Sweeney. Along with seemingly granting Kendrick his wish, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said the trade provided his club with financial flexibility.

Kendrick is owed $10 million in the final year of his two-year contract signed with the Dodgers this past January. The expectation — for now — is that he will play left field for Philadelphia, but on an every day basis. It remains plausible Kendrick could move to second base if the Phillies are to trade Cesar Hernandez.