When the Los Angeles Dodgers re-signed Howie Kendrick to a two-year, $20 million contract in January it marked the end of an usual offseason for the veteran second baseman. He came off another productive season but the presumption was his rejecting the qualifying offer diminished his value.
Kendrick was also hurt by Daniel Murphy and Ben Zobrist reaching free agency during the same winter. Prior to retaining Kendrick, the Dodgers had already re-signed Chase Utley. There was talk of using the duo at multiple positions.
Utley wound up establishing himself as the Dodgers’ everyday second baseman, while Kendrick found a new home in left field.
Although he never publicly complained over the position switch, Kendrick, who has one year and $10 million remaining on his contract, reportedly wants to be traded, per Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball:
Dodgers infielder-outfielder Howie Kendrick would prefer to be traded, according to sources.
While playing second base on a regular basis appears to be a preference, Kendrick is willing to continue in a utility role should it equate to playing time:
But Kendrick is very willing to do the utility thing so long as he more regular playing time.
It was recently reported Kendrick grew frustrated with his role and the Dodgers were exploring trade options. The Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were named as potential trade partners, which Heyman corroborated, and added the Kansas City Royals.
Kendrick began the season on the 15-day disabled list due to a calf strain suffered late in Spring Training. That essentially opened the door for Utley to usurp him at second base.
Kendrick batted .255/.326/.366 with 26 doubles, eight home runs and 40 RBI. The .691 on-base plus slugging percentage was the lowest of his career. He presumably could return next season as the starting second baseman, as Utley is currently a free agent.
Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said the club is confident the 33-year-old Kendrick is capable of handling such role.