The Dodger That Got Away…..

While Dodger’s president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is clearly incapable of building a great pitching staff, he has been able to acquire some good position players. One particular trade acquisition was one of the most likeable. The trade I am speaking of is the one for veteran Howie Kendrick. The Dodgers acquired him from the Angels back in 2015. They dealt pitching prospect Andrew Heaney for the experienced infielder. Kendrick was a player that the Dodger’s new front office (new at the time) supposedly long coveted for the Dodger’s vacant second base position.

This was a trade that I could finally get behind. I immediately liked it. Kendrick had been a solid player for the Angels for many years. He wasn’t spectacular, as in he wasn’t slugging 50 home runs per year, but he was a good hitter who made contact, yet could still hit home runs.

Kendrick was immediately productive for the Dodgers in his first year. He batted .295 while posting an OPS of 108 and a .336 OBP. He hit 9 home runs and drove in 54 runs. He batted .292 in the first half, including .295 in April with a .353 OBP. He also hit .303 on the second half. Perhaps his best skill was his ability to bat with runners in scoring position. During that season Kendrick hit .360 with runners in scoring position that included 44 runs driven in and only 19 strikeouts in 109 plate appearances.

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Kendrick is by nature, a contact hitter. He’s had just three seasons in his entire career in which he posted over 100 strikeouts. This is a far cry from the whiff machines the Dodgers currently have in their lineup. A veteran contact hitter who bats well with runners in scoring position while maintaining pop is like finding a pearl in a clam. It’s a rare find these days.

Kendrick may have had a down year in 2016, his final year as a Dodger, found himself on the outside looking in. After yet another playoff embarrassment Friedman traded him to the Phillies. Not only did he get nothing in the return for Kendrick, his replacement was not even half the hitter he was.

Kendrick has gone onto become an excellent hitter for the Washington Nationals. Yes I realize that now Kendrick is older, injury prone and mostly a part time player. Yet he’s been fantastic in Washington D.C. Kendrick batted .303 in 2017, and .193 in 2018, 2019 was one his finest years. In 2019, Kendrick slashed .344/.395/.572 with 17 home runs in 370 plate appearances. Kendrick struck out just 49 times this season.

Now Kendrick is raking it in the postseason. Kendrick is now 7 for 28 with 6 runs driven in this postseason. That includes the grand slam home run in game 5 of the NLDS that sunk the Dodger’s 2019 season. Now Kendrick is just one win away from playing in the World Series. Meanwhile the Dodgers are watching from their couches. The Dodgers could have used a guy like Howie Kendrick. He was once a Dodger and Andrew Friedman let him get away. Food for thought while we wait for next season.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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47 thoughts on “The Dodger That Got Away…..

  1. On August 19, 2015, Darnell Sweeny and John Richy were traded to the Phillies for Chase Utley. On November 11, 2016 Sweeney and Darren Ruf were traded to the Dodgers for Howie Kendrick. In parts of 2 season’s, Sweeney has hit .179 in the majors. On May 27, 2017 Sweeney was traded to the Reds for future considerations. The Reds released him in March of 2018. He bounced from Toronto the American Association and now is in the Pirates system. Ruf never played a game for the Dodgers and went to Japan. Sweeney never appeared in a major league game for the Dodgers. Has to rank as one of the worst trades AF ever made. Heaney has been injury prone since he joined the Angels.

  2. Definitely a proven contact hitter. He has lost a bit, defensively, at 36, but he can still can hit. Contact hitters just see the ball, and hit it, NOT always swinging from their heels with their eyes closed. Good contact hitters are hard to find now days, with the emergence of the juiced baseball, home run era.

    Traded to Phils for virtually nothing. A typical AF move.

    1. And Kendrick is one of several players who later comes back to haunt his former team. But what happened with Howie in 2016 was that Roberts and Co. basically through him under the bus, making play in LF where he didn’t have any experience, as he was basically a 2nd baseman most of his career. then, as what Roberts does so often, he started taking playing time from Kendrick as well, and we know the rest of this story..

      1. We can blame it all on the constant lineup changes and positional assignments that the Dodgers do, game after game.

        I like the way AF threw DR under the bus, and said that the in game decisions are not by his direction. Those decisions are made on the field.

        If I was DR, I would be pissed, but DR will not make any waves.

  3. It’s just Karma. Everyone who’s a real fan knows that. Don’t pile on another player until the series over, and don’t drink the koolaid so much that you start bashing other (perhaps more sober) fans of your own team. It’s how baseball (and life) is.

  4. Well every one can quit crying now. AF and Doc coming back. Honey no longer the pitching coach and AF did his annual spin doctor presser and said the Dodgers still have faith in Gas Can Jansen. But he also hinted that the closer job may not be his alone. He once again said, as he did last year, that they are in the market and might sign a premium free agent….fat chance of that happening. All the good players are represented by Boras. And in a story I read the other day, Boras is shooting for the moon salary wise with Ryu, who not only is a Cy Young candidate, but in the running for comeback player of the year, which went to Kemp after last season. Prior will take over the pitching coach duties and after the managerial merry-go-round is settled, we will see if any of our coaches have been pilfered. Geren is the most likely target.

    1. AF and DOC…

      The last time I felt this much despair for two people coming to the Dodgers was when I was walking around for weeks muttering “McCarthy and Anderson????”

      **** FIRK ***
      New nickmame? (Freidman. Ibanez. Roberts. Katsen) ?? Work in progress.

  5. I really do not know what Ibanez does. I know he is an advisor to the GM on the FO page, but since they have had no GM since Zaidi left, that must be a pretty empty job. He has told everyone he is not interested in any of the managerial positions which are open. Guess it is a good thing the Dodgers did not bite on Stanton when he was available. The guy cannot stay healthy. FIRK….I like it.

    1. Michael, with all that said i cannot imagine for the life of me that Roberts would be greeted with open arms come next year. But again, we all know this current roster has no real great players, only interchangeable lefty and right y parts and is a roster not suited IMHO for any playoff activity.

  6. The guys love Davey that’s a given. I will tell you who won’t welcome him back, the fans. They are pretty fed up and I have read more negative comments and less supportive ones. As for Friedman, he is very astute at talking out of the side of his mouth. If I was a position player I doubt I would want to come to LA and all of a sudden be a platoon guy after playing every day.

    1. Exactly, Michael. After what took place in the 2019 NLDS that has to be a real ‘turn off’ for pending FA’s. A few years back on MLBN, Harold Reynolds reported that he had spoken to several players who were on the trading block and they all told him they sure DID NOT want to be traded to the Dodgers for reasons ya gave in your last sentence here.

    2. You are too kind, Michael,

      Friedman talking out of the side of his mouth is way too nice. It is more like talking out of his ass! He would make a great ventriloquist, as he can say all this 💩💩, and still hold that “💩-eatin’ grin” without moving his mouth.

        1. Free agency, not so much. They have NEVER since AF and Guggenheim signed any free agent of note. Pollock got the longest and largest contract given to a free agent that was not one of their own. Jansen, Turner and Kershaw, all got substantial deals, but they have never signed anyone for over 100 mil. Most of the trades under this regime have not been for stars save the Machado and Darvish deals. The other trades involving big name players recently have been salary dumps. So yeah, they do not have a problem bringing in top players, they just RARELY have done it. Did they go after Harper? They made an offer and they knew it had little chance of being accepted to a player who wanted a lot more years than what was offered. The only player they offered a long term deal, 5 years, of more than 100 million was Greinke. He was about 30 minutes from signing that deal when Arizona jumped in. Chances they sign any of the star free agents this winter are about zero, unless there is a major philosophy shift from ownership. They make the money decisions, not Friedman.

          1. Chances are the Dodgers in 2020 won’t get any closer to winning a WS either. Roberts is coming back… This PS has clearly shown Dodgers were not good enough to advance much further than they did. Pitching, how it was handled and the offense are all one needs to recall for reasons why Dodgers are now out of it.

  7. Kendrick did not get away, he was given away for peanuts. Turner open to a position change. Rumor mill is just heating up. Some think the Dodgers are going to make a serious play for Rendon.

    1. Well, if they do pursue Rendon, I hope it is not like other acquisitions. Dodgers just love to pick up players who beat them badly in the hopes that they can have them on their side….. Like Pollock, and Kelly. This will no doubt could cost them dearly in prospects, and for sure, a big long term contract. I am sure Rendon will also request that they “do not” platoon him… sort of a guarantee of every day position, as was given to Pollock in the beginning.

      So, JT willing to switch positions? To 2B? If not, where else would he go?

      This possible acquisition will just plug one of the many, many holes in this roster. With AF having full confidence in the bullpen, and Ryu probably leaving I just don’t see Rendon being the Dodger savior. They need pitching…. relief and starting, both.

      I guess it is a start, anyway.

  8. Just a rumor, but Turner would probably move to 1st. Not enough range to play 2nd and not quick enough to be a SS. Plus JT only has one year left on his deal. Rendon would cost them money only and he gives them something they do need, another power bat from the right. They are way lefty heavy power wise. But I agree the pitching is the place that needs some tweaking. Many have them shopping Seager, but I do not see that. Geren not on any of the list of managerial interviews so he is probably staying in the dugout with Doc. Baker made the list of final 3 candidates for the Phillies job.

    1. Makes sense, Michael.

      JT to first. Too bad he is probably too slow for SS or 2B.

      I heard the rumor on Seager, too. Cory probably the only player who could get return value in trade. Would hate to lose him, but he was sure disappointing in playoffs. Belli and Muncy untouchable. Belli was a disappointment too, offensively in the playoffs, but the Dodgers would never give him up. The rest of the main pieces of the veteran roster are not worth a plug nickel in a trade.

  9. Bad playoff not a good enough reason to trade him. You would have to unload half the team including some pitchers. Joc has some value. Coming off of a 30 plus homer year with probably a 1 year deal in tow for about 8 mil. Taylor and Kike would bring back something, not much. About the only way this team could bring back a major piece, say someone like Kris Bryant, would be a multiplayer trade, or maybe even a multi team deal. AF has made a lot of those

  10. Who cares about Jim Rome? His last point of relevancy was in the 90s, no?

    Much less Jim Rome clips with out of date information.

    Sheesh

  11. Hello Everyone
    This is my prediction-
    Everyone is down on Kershaw but he produces big time during the season. He is going nowhere.
    The Dodgers will not get Rendon. Too much money and they have their RH power hitter, AJ!
    The Dodgers will not trade Joc, Seager, or any of their platoon or regular players.
    Of couse Dummy and AF will remain.
    They may get a reliever or two off the scrap heap or washed up.
    The fans will get nothing exciting or new and improved.
    All I heard was how great Pollack would be last year and you see he is a bust. They really did nothing.
    They are here to make a buck and all the good folks of the Southland are stuck with it. What a shame. To cheap to get enough star players to win when they are close. Also they were close when they came. That’s it folks.

    In other words, they will do NOTHING of real interest

    1. Pack, the only real knock on Kersh is the way he has performed in the playoffs. Had Kersh been the in season Kersh, the Astros would have not won the World Series in 17. Simply because the Dodgers gave Kersh 7 runs to work with and he gave back 6 by the 6th inning. The bad bullpen gave up the rest in a 13-12 loss. Of course Darvish was the bad guy in that one. But Kersh is not the only player who has had bad playoffs. Some pretty big names are right up there with him. The call to get rid of guys is loud because the angst of losing to the Nats is so fresh. And usually people will call for all sorts of changes. Like the uproar from fans about Doc coming back. But there never was a question about that simply because he just signed an extension earlier this year and his team won 106 games this season. AF coming back was more in doubt because his contract is up the day after the world series ends, but they squashed that idea by saying that a new deal would be in place soon. So, we have to settle at this point for a new pitching coach, Prior, and a lot of speculation as to who will be on the roster come spring. Anyone seriously believe they will make a run at Rendon when AF has never signed a player of that caliber to a contract? Does Rendon instantly make them a contender to win a series? Sorry, I do not think signing more offense is the answer. I think they need to make the pitching staff stronger. And that despite the fact that they led the NL in pitching. Stros have better starters, so does DC. They showed that in the playoffs. Only Buehler and Ryu pitched like class starters for the Dodgers. Throwing Hill out there in game 4 was dumb. Using an opener in a series where you are trying to go deeper in the playoffs is idiotic in my book. I would have started Maeda. At least he could have given them some innings and put less strain on an iffy bullpen. Even Stripling would have been a better choice. Or May for that fact, but they threw away a game they could have won. And they have done that a bunch over the last 3 seasons. So before they even think of getting a guy like Rendon, they need a better starting 5.

      1. Accurate analysis, Michael.

        I agree, that even if they sign Rendon, one offensive addition will not lead them to a World Series Championship. He also may end up flopping, as there are no guarantees that he will put up consistently good numbers. the Dodgers have a potentially strong offense already. They just need to kick their asses in gear. Lineup stability and offensive role establishment will be key to offensive as well as defensive consistency (cut down on platooning and positional shuffling). Instead of just resigning to their lefty/righty phobia, the Dodgers need to do something about it. There has to be an answer, and it is up to the hitting coaches to come up with the answer. It cannot be that hard. These ballplayers are professionals, aren’t they? They make too much money to say “they can’t”.

        The real make or break will be pitching. Really nothing we can do about Kershaw. He is not going anywhere, regardless of how the many disgruntled fans may feel. Clayton just needs to be grounded… let a little air out of his swollen, ballon-head. Stop relying on him to be the team’s leader and savior. Just accept him for what he is, in his later years…. a better than average second or third starter. So, with the probable departure of Ryu, the Dodgers definitely need at least one top of the line starter to tandem with Buehler. They also need a new closer to take the load off of Jansen. And lastly, they will need a dependable middle reliever.

  12. IMO, I do not think Ryu will be back with the Dodgers in 2020.

    Agree/Disagree?

    I Think he will go to the Angels. With LA and huge Korean community, and his wife expecting, he would prefer to stay in LA, and I do not think the Dodgers will pony up the money to satisfy Boros. I feel the Angels would jump on Ryu’s marketability…. they need another top draw to accompany Trout and Ohtani.

  13. Well the series will be Stros and Nats. Anyone ever doubt that Houston would beat New York? The Yankees have a lock down bullpen, but the Stros starters are heads and tails better than the Yanks. We say good bye to C.C. Sabathia. Kind of a sad way for a very good pitchers career to end. But he will be remembered as one of the best of his era. 251 wins, probably a shoo in for the hall.

    1. LMAO…. don’t hold your breath, Michael. Dodgers might convince him to play one more year. Dodgers like to do that, as you know.

      Seriously, it is amazing that C.C. lasted so many years, and was effective.

      Astros definitely had the better pitching, and talk about clutch…. How about Guriel and Altuve? Those two guys can dig deep and get it done when they need to… something the Dodgers just did not have. They both had been a thorns in the Dodgers’ side.

      I have not watched any games, and probably will not watch the World Series. But, I hope the Nats win. I just like the underdog. I do not know who is favored, but the Nats being the Wild Card, deserves it. Also glad that they did it without Harper. I bet Harper is pissed, but I don’t think he should feel too bad, as he is too busy counting his pennies.

      1. Very true about Harper, Bluefan. But I saw that the Dodgers scored 22 runs in that 5 game NLDS with the Nats and the Nats scored 21. yes in clutch situations Dodgers however failed miserably. But the fact that they actually out scored the Nats in those 5 games tells ya all one needs to know that the pitching staff as a hole was very sub par

  14. Reading a lot lately. I like to look on different sites and see what the skinny is. Gurnick did a write up on Turner today about him maybe needing a new glove next year. Of course this is in reference to all the chatter about the Dodgers pursuing Rendon, and Turner moving to 1st. Gurnick also made a point, as I have often, that this regime is long on talk, and short on action. They said the same things they are saying this year, last year when Harper was on the market. Sorry, I do not trust anything that comes out of Friedman’s mouth. Now, that being said, moving Turner to 1st makes sense. Less wear and tear. The guy is nails in the post season and the same cannot be said for a lot of the players. Including Bellinger, who except for the 2017 series against the Cubs, has not hit well at all. Over 7 post season series, he has hit .178. And guys complain about Kershaw, at least Kersh has show some flashes of brilliance. Kike has a higher average and more homers in playoff games than Bellinger does. So, which way do the Dodgers go? Everyone is talking about Rendon. Personally, I do not think this ownership will pony up the money that is going to eventually be paid to Cole or Rendon, let alone Strasburg if he opts out. I do not think they would go more than 5 years on any free agent contract, and Ryu, will probably be asking for at least 4 with close to 18 to 20 million a year. Since he really wants to stay on the west coast, I think he might sign with the Angels. Close to LA and the Korean community here. And I also think that the Dodgers are more committed to bringing their young pitchers along and letting them start taking the load. My thinking is that if the Dodgers try to improve the pitching anywhere, it will be 2nd tier free agents or trades. They might go after Bryant of the Cubs. They have plenty of offense, what the need is a lock down back end of the pen, and at least one more veteran arm in the rotation. If they do not get Rendon, move Turner to 1st. Put Muncy at 2nd, move Seager to 3rd, where he could flourish, and put the kid, Lux, who is a natural SS anyway at SS.

    1. I like your infield, Michael. Seager was touted as the heir apparent to 3rd base, once JT could not carry on duties there, so makes sense to put Cory there. So, JT to 1st would be logical move. The real key is the middle infield. Muncy carries his own at 2nd, and Lux is preferably a natural SS. So, let Lux and Muncy fill the void up the middle, more or less every day. Let them gel into a well seasoned tandem.

      Pitching, we all agree that there are holes with Starters, Middle Relief, and Closer, so ”Pitchers R’ Us” would be the place to shop, even before considering Adding Rendon. Cut the leash on the kids [May, Gonsolin, and Urias). Buehler is the #1 “Ace”. Add a #2-#3 starter (Kershaw could be #2 or #3), Maeda the #4-#5, or assign permanently to the bullpen (restructure his contract/incentives). Add a 2nd rate middle reliever or groom one of the kids to fill that role, and find a new closer…. move Jansen to setup man, and occasional mop up man, when they have a huge lead.

      Bye-Bye Ryu (hate to lose you, but would not blame you for leaving), trade Stripling, do not re-sign Hill. Cut Yimi Garcia, try to trade Kelly (that may be impossible to do).

    2. Michael, with that said, Freidman and Roberts will do the same darn thing with the lineups next year, especially if they don’t get some RH bat that has equal splits against both hands of the pitcher. In other words, look for the same lineup and position shuffling as has been taking place in these past few seasons. and the results will be NO DIFFERENT at all except maybe Dodgers avoid playoff embarrassment and not make the PS altogether. but I agree with ya in seeing that Dodgers will NOT sign anyone of impactful significance either in the pitching or the offense.

  15. My point exactly. Friedman talks out of the left side of his mouth all the time. He is what he is. And I for one do not believe a thing he says, and Roberts is the perfect puppet for him. Dave has a lot of faults, that is a given, but one thing Roberts is, is a good communicator with his boys. That is his strength, making out lineups and pitching moves in game are not.

    1. Yup, DR is a good communicator. Could be one of his major faults, however. I could probably count on one hand, how many times DR tore into a player, and reprimanded him for poor play (3 times being Puig, and 1 time being Kemp). He is too soft….. too chummy with his players. Players love him because he has a soft shoulder to lean on. DR gives them words of encouragement, instead of an ass chewing, which was probably warranted. He does not hold a player accountable for their screwups, as a Manager should. Instead, he Makes excuses for them and gives them chance after chance to shake their demons…. too many chances, in critical situations, if tou ask me.

        1. Paul, at least some of us have it right. Boy, If my pitcher said give me the ball…. came in and blew Game 5, and blew a save, he would be in my office behind closed doors. Actually a closed door would serve no purpose, as folks still in shock on the top deck would hear me.

          Excuses, excuses, excuses, while hugging Kershaw and wiping away Clayton’s tears, as well as his. That is disgusting.

  16. Those hoping the Dodgers sign either Cole or Rendon are just pissin in the wind. In his 5 years at the helm, AF has never signed a player to one of the top 3 salary’s. Given that track record and the fact that Cole and Rendon are going to break the bank, there is no shot either winds up a Dodger. Most ridiculous story I read was one that said the Dodgers were a likely landing spot if the Yanks decide to deal Stanton. Why would LA want another injury prone outfielder?

    1. Michael
      The Dodgers would probably trade for Stanton the same way they picked up Pollack. Stupidity. Pollack was hurt all time before he came to the Dodgers and he was hurt last year. Same MO. Stanton would just be another. We are stuck with a dumb FO and manager.

      1. Yup, Package.

        Just another worn out veteran to add to the ever growing “Money Pit”. Dodgers love those K-Mart ”Blew Light” specials.

        Dodgers have the 25-Man, 40-Man, IL, Dumpster-Dive, and “Money Pit” Rosters.

      2. Pack, I understand your frustration and passion for the team, and I would never deny you that. But, you do not get to be where these guys are by being dumb. Most are highly successful business men. It is their money and they want a return on the investment. The Dodgers are not going to trade for Stanton. He is not the same player he was in Miami. If they wanted a player like him, they would have kept Kemp. As for Roberts, he knows baseball, and he knows how to communicate and actually get his players to agree and be ok with all the platooning and switches and so on. What he is not, is a very good in game tactician. Put it this way, who do you want leading your army, Patton or McClellan? Dave is great with player relations, he is not very good as a disiplinarian. He also has pretty much let CK have his own way, and not stood up and said, you have done your job now let the BP finish this. He tends to ride his pony too long. He says he is putting his players in a position to succeed. He is also putting them in a position to fall flat on their laurels. His constant lineup juggling is as most of us know, a direct link to analytics. They read the stats and the probability’s and go from there. Otherwise, some of these guys would actually get reps against their weakness’s and a chance to improve in those situations. They can all sit there and make excuses all they want, but the fact is that despite a season to remember record wise, when the chips were on the line, they folded like a wet taco. They do beat good pitchers sometimes, and they beat up on the teams in their division. Pollock is a good outfielder. He has decent power, and he is a pretty good defender. When he is healthy, he hits. He was extremely hot when he came off of the IL and along with Seager, one of the players who carried them through August and September. His season numbers were not that bad. He probably played more the last month than he would have if Verdugo had been healthy. He was the cheap solution to the need for RH power after they unloaded Kemp and Puig. And he is exactly the kind of player AF targets. We all knew they were not going to go after Harper for a deal like he got. They offered him more money for a shorter term, and we all knew he was not biting at that. Neither will Rendon or Cole. As long, and that will be for at least another 2 years, that the ownership wants to stay under the luxury tax, you are not going to see any premium players signed by LA as free agents. Beside the tax, there are a couple of other reasons for that, The CBA is expiring in 2022, and the new rules changes that will be taking place over the next 3 years or so. Baseball could have another strike coming, and maybe not. We are definitely stuck with Dave and AF, but realize they are not dumb, they are employees at a job and they pretty much do what the boss orders.

        1. And the result of all this is that Dodgers are home having been bounced and next year, we won’t see 106 wins and if Andy and his puppet Roberts to the same things over and over next year, we cannot be surprised that those end results will be the same. Honestly, the other day I thought of what Machado said to a fan this past year that Padres would win a WS before the Dodgers do, and I tend to believe based upon what we have seen that he just may very well be correct.

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