Considering the Los Angeles Dodgers traded a young, team-controlled pitcher in Andrew Heaney for Howie Kendrick last year, there was some surprise the club would let the second baseman walk after just one season.
Los Angeles did extend a qualifying offer to Kendrick, which he declined, as was expected. The crop of free-agent second basemen this year was far from deep, with Kendrick, Daniel Murphy and Ben Zobrist the primary standouts.
Zobrist signed a four-year, $56 million deal with the Chicago Cubs, and Murphy agreed to a three-year, $37.5 million contract with the Washington Nationals.
It was reported last November that Kendrick was seeking a four-year contract. However, the market for the 32 year old never quite gained traction.
The Nationals were believed to have checked in with Kendrick, and the Arizona Diamondbacks also had interest, but don’t want to lose another draft pick by signing a player who rejected a qualifying offer.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers appeared comfortable with their plan to play Kiké Hernandez and Chase Utley at second base. Although that may still hold true, the possibility of re-signing Kendrick is gaining steam, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
Sources: #Dodgers making progress with Kendrick.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 29, 2016
Kendrick hit .295/.336/.409 with nine home runs, 54 RBIs, a .325 wOBA and 109 wRC+ in 117 games. Should he return with Los Angeles, it would give the club added flexibility as Hernandez could again play fill a super utility role, and Utley may also be used at third base.