Despite several of the marquee starting pitchers already signed to new contracts, the free-agent market has continued to progress slowly for position players.
Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Gordon, Howie Kendrick and Justin Upton are among the position players still available as the calendar turned to January.
In Kendrick’s case, he is one of nine free agents yet to sign after rejecting the one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer.
Entering free agency he figured to slot behind Ben Zobrist and potentially Daniel Murphy in a market of second basemen that was far from deep.
Zobrist was the first domino to fall, signing a four-year, $56 million deal with the Chicago Cubs.
Murphy agreed to a three-year, $37.5 million contract with the Washington Nationals. Washington reportedly had interest in Kendrick prior to signing Murphy.
Although Kendrick is coming off another productive season, it’s certainly within reason to believe a signing team losing their draft pick to add the 32 year old has been a hindrance.
There was little to suggest the Los Angeles Dodgers would attempt to re-sign Kendrick after he declined their qualifying offer, and general manager Farhan Zaidi recently stated the club intends for Kiké Hernandez and Chase Utley to man second base next season.
One landing spot for Kendrick was believed to be the Arizona Diamondbacks as the two sides have continued to hold discussions, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports:
The Arizona Diamondbacks are having ongoing discussions with free-agent second baseman Howie Kendrick, although no deal is close, according to major-league sources.
However, Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart said the club will not sign a player that requires them to forfeit another draft pick, according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com:
“We’re not going to give up the pick,” Stewart said of the D-backs, who have the 37th selection (Competitive Balance Round A). “It’s just tough after we’ve already given up our first pick. To give up our top two picks, that would be difficult for us to do.”
Arizona lost their first-round pick by signing Zack Greinke to a six-year, $206.5 million contract. Conversely, Los Angeles gained a compensatory pick by losing Greinke.
Like the Dodgers, the Diamondbacks have internal options at second base. However, Kendrick would certainly be an offensive upgrade over the likes of Aaron Hill and Chris Owings.
In 117 games last season, Kendrick hit .295/.336/.409 with nine home runs, 54 RBIs, a .325 wOBA and 109 wRC+. He missed 34 games over August and September due to a strained left hamstring.