Dodger’s infielder Howie Kendrick is certainly off to a dreadful start. Kendrick is hitting a putrid .135 ( 7 for 52) in 53 plate appearances. After another 0 for 3 night he has a slash line of .135/.151/.286 through his first 15 games this season. After the Dodgers signed Kendrick to a two-year 20 million dollar contract this offseason, it seems like that was a huge mistake, or a gamble. A roll of the dice that came up snake eyes. He had originally rejected a 15.8 qualifying offer but his market shrunk and the Dodgers wisely waited for his asking price to diminish.
I think people are forgetting that not only is Kendrick a solid player, but that he has good reason for sucking the way he has thus far. The Dodgers signed Kendrick to what seemed like a very team friendly contract because he was one of the club’s best hitters in 2015. Kendrick has a career .291 average and has never hit below .279 in his entire career. Kendrick has averaged 180 hits per season over the course of his 11 season career. Last season Kendrick was the Dodger’s leading hitter with runners in scoring position as he posted a .360 (36 for 100 ) average in those situations
Kendrick went down early in the spring with a calf injury and missed the majority of the spring. He never got a full spring training to prepare for the season. Players need the spring in order to get their reps in before the season starts. Kendrick missed that opportunity. He went from the disabled list to a short rehab assignment, and then right into the Dodger lineup without a chance to get into shape.
Without a full spring training he was unable to get his timing. MLB hitters need those spring at-bats for that. That’s a good reason why Kendrick looks so awful at the plate right now. He’s way behind everyone. The only way he’ll regain his form is by playing. This is his spring training right now. Normally Kendrick plays well in the early part of the season. The veteran has a career .286/.337/.443 line in the month of April.
I am not trying to make excuses for him. There is no doubt that Kendrick has supremely sucked so far this year. The Dodgers have also been moving him around the diamond because of other injuries. He’s seen time at third base and left field this month. The situation is made more complicated because Chase Utley has been playing so well.
There’s no way to know when Kendrick will finally regain his timing at the plate. I know he has to play in order to do that. Kendrick is a good player. He’s too good to keep batting this poorly. There is no way he’ll bat .135 the entire season. Kendrick will start hitting again. I don’t know when, but trust me he will. We just have to be patient.
18 thoughts on “Patience is Needed With Howie Kendrick”
Any chance we can trade Howie to Miami, now that they clearly need a 2b for the next 3 months?
Good idea Bobby.
In the mean time bat Kendrick 8th except when Kershaw or Maeda pitch, then hit him 9th.
I agree Bum. I don’t like Crawford’s defense, but he has just came back, and he has already got a hit, and looks better, in his at bats.
Cut them a Dan Haren deal and I think we could make it happen but this time it would have to be for 2 years.
But Gordon has that multi year contract.
If Howie Kendrick’s career has indeed “jumped the shark” it would be a nice cherry on top of all the other terrible FAZ acquisitions.
Here is a scary thought from Eric Stephen at True Blue LA:
“Baez has allowed six of his eight inherited runners to score this season, but then charged one to his own ledger, allowing a solo home run to Giancarlo Stanton in the eighth, putting an exclamation point on the end of an ugly series.”
So why does Roberts use Baez in high leverage situations with runners on? Of course, Hatcher is no better. The Dodgers’ ‘pen can’t be trusted except for Jansen, which is why the Braintrust has made no effort to extend him. Now it’s probably too late. Just imagine what the ‘pen will look like next year?
Avilan, Liberatore, Howell, Garcia, Baez, Hatcher, and Coleman
That’s your 2017 pen, ladies!
Money Ball does not value bullpens!
Good one Bobby! We should not have to be reminded about that, because Baez, and Hatcher, are doing a good job themselves.
I don’t think anybody mentioned anything about Utley being thrown out at second last night. He is a smart aggressive base runner and I wonder if he assumed Kike’ would have been running hard at the crack of the bat with two outs and would have tried to score on Gordon’s error. Kike’ or the third base coach basically left Utley out to dry by not being aggressive.
There were two out and all runners had to assume Agon would have been thrown out at first so there was no reason not to gamble as the only way Agon would have not been thrown out was for there to be an error.
That’s a really good question, Bum. I didn’t write about it in my game recap because it looked like an ugly, busted play, and the result was another wasted inning.
I don’t remember seeing the situation unfold at third in any replays. With two out, the runners gotta be going.
If I recall correctly, Gordon bobbled that ball a little. Maybe that bobble put the hesitation in Kike to not go home?
On TV we couldn’t see what was happening at third base, because the TV was showing what happened at first, then we saw Utley at second.
Also we need to play cleaner on defense, because a couple of non plays, caused Maeda, to throw more pitches.
Kendrick not aging well. Needs to do some of those fitness programs advertised all over the place. Course Agon hasn’t looked real great either last 4 games. Or Puig. Oh well, better days please come on.
Howie must have came to spring training not in shape. He is injured himself, twice in spring training.
I also think that if Roberts is going to play Crawford in leftfield, he needs to bring in, a defensive help, in the later innings. Because Crawford is not going to do anything, to compensate, for his bad arm. He doesn’t run and pick up the ball, and get momenum into his throw, when a runner, is running home. He holds on for a second, and throws the ball, flat footed.