In a somewhat unsurprising move the Dodgers have traded second baseman/outfielder Howie Kendrick to the Phillies in exchange for a minor leaguer, and a part time first baseman. The two players acquired in the deal are right handed hitter Darin Ruf, and former Dodger farmhand Darnell Sweeney. The veteran Kendrick was reportedly unhappy about his usage during last season. That’s not unexpected since the Dodgers played him in left field for a large portion of the season. Kendrick played 94 games in left field.
Kendrick had an injury plagued career worst season that saw him slash .255/.326/.366 with 8 home runs and 40 runs batted in with a .691 OPS in 543 plate appearances in 2016. Kendrick played in 146 games this season and logged just 32 of them at second base. Kendrick was very vocal recently about his disdain for the Dodgers unorthodox usage of him in left field and around the diamond. Kendrick also played 17 games at third base and 11 at first base. The veteran is in the final year of a two-year 20 million dollar contract that he signed with the Dodgers last offseason.
In this deal the front office acquires the type of player that they drool over, a marginal platoon bat. Ruf is 30-years old and entering his sixth major league season. He was drafted by the Phillies in the 20 round of the 2009 amateur draft. Ruf played in just 43 major league games in 2016 as he split time between the Phillies and their triple-a affiliate Lehigh Valley. While he hit 20 home runs and batted .294 in 95 games for Lehigh Valley, he hit just .205 for the Phillies at the major league level. Ruf was 17 for 83 with 3 home runs and a .573 OPS.
In his five major league seasons, Ruf has a career .240 batting average with a .747 OPS and 35 home runs across five seasons all spent with Philadelphia. Of course his career splits tell us that he bats .299 against left handed pitching. Needless to say that Ruf has been a mediocre hitter and below average defender. It appears he is out of options and probably will not help the Dodgers much if any in 2017. This seems like a straight salary dump.
Sweeney is a former Dodger farmhand that was traded to the Phillies in the Chase Utley deal. The 25-year old switch-hitting second baseman made his only MLB appearance in 2015. In that season he played in 37 games for the Phillies and hit just .176 (15 for 85) with 3 home runs and 11 runs driven in while posting a .639 OPS in 98 plate appearances. Sweeney spent the entire 2016 season with Lehigh Valley and batted just .233 in 118 games.
The Dodgers are now going to be in need of a second baseman as well. Please tell me that’s not going to be Kike Hernandez.
It’s going to be Kike isn’t it?