The Red Hot Logan Forsythe is Helping us Forget About Howie Kendrick

Logan Forsythe

Last November the Dodgers traded veteran infielder Howie Kendrick to the Phillies for Darin Ruf and former farmhand Darnell Sweeney. The move was met with much skepticism as Kendrick was an integral part of the last two postseason runs for the Dodgers. Not only that, but the Dodgers had traded former second baseman Dee Gordon to clear room for acquiring Kendrick. What they actually did was flip top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney to the Angels for Kendrick. But it was widely believed that the Dodger’s front office had coveted Kendrick as a potential second base option for a long time.

Kendrick was a fairly popular Dodger and despite some injury problems had a solid two seasons with the club. Kendrick slashed .295/.336/.409 while posting a 108 wRC+ for the Dodgers in 2015. He followed that up by slashing .255/.326/.366 with an 87 wRC+. Kendrick missed significant time in 2015 because of injuries, most notably a hamstring injury that stalled a very solid campaign. Kendrick played in 146 games in 2016 and was moved around the diamond quite a bit. His batting declined in 2016 but he was still considered a solid option for second base.

After the Dodgers moved Kendrick to Philadelphia last winter most of the discussion centered around whom the Dodgers would acquire to replace him at the keystone. The Dodgers spent most of the offseason trying to acquire, (or were rumored to be) Brian Dozier from the Twins. But the trade never happened. The Dodgers were unsuccessful in getting Dozier, but on January 23, they traded top pitching prospect Jose De Leon to Tampa Bay for infielder Logan Forsythe.

Forsythe had two very good seasons in Tampa Bay, batting .264, and .28 respectively in 2015 and 2016 with 17 home runs in 2015 and 20 in 2016. Forsythe posted a 124 OPS + in 2015 and 113 OPS+ in 2016 for the Rays. The Dodgers believed he was the answer to the second base void left by Howie Kendrick.

Many people still believe that trading Kendrick was a mistake. For the first part of the 2017 season Forsythe’s lack of production made it seem as if those people were correct. At first Forsythe struggled in his new digs. After getting off to a hot start in April, (.295 13 for 44), a broken foot and hamstring injury kept him out for most of May. Forsythe played in only 8 games in May, slashing .160/.344/.320 with only two extra-base hits.

The struggle continued through June for Forsythe as he tried to regain his timing once he returned from the disabled list. He batted just .214 in June but still showed he was one of the most patent hitters in the league as he drew 14 walks. Forsythe began to right the ship and finally begun to hit in the month of July. So far this month he is batting .375 (9 for 24) with 4 extra-base hits and an 1.108 OPS in 29 plate appearances.

That’s raised his overall batting line to .249/.369/.345 in 214 plate appearances. Forsythe is also crushing left handers to the tune of a .386 average (22 for 57). Forsythe has been hitting the ball harder that he had last season with Tampa Bay. His Line percentage has increased from 22% last year to 24$ this season.

It appeared as though Forsythe was an injury riddled mess early in the season and we all questioned why the Dodgers would jettison Kendrick for Forsythe in the first place. But the veteran infielder is finally healthy and showing the Dodgers why they made the decision to acquire him. Hopefully we continue to see the Forsythe that slugged 37 home runs and posted an above league average OPS from 2015-2016 with the Rays in the American League. Forsythe is red hot and continued success from him at the top of the Dodger’s lineup is very important to their success in the second half.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda’s Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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64 thoughts on “The Red Hot Logan Forsythe is Helping us Forget About Howie Kendrick

  1. Between Dozier and Forsythe I had always prefered Forsythe. Not a fan of Dozier’s game, especially with this lineup.

    Lots of updates on TrueBlue, Dodgers Digest, etc. on our minor league prospects.

    A few names stand out:

    DJ Peters – he’s been in the news throughout the first half, having won multipler player of the week honors. DJ is tall and strong, but according to several reports, DJ is also very athletic.

    Remember back when we had Kemp, Ethier and Loney coming up? I remember major networks going bonkers over the trio then. Of course there was some crazy talk, like some saying Loney looked like a future batting champ with his plate discipline. But all in all they were not wrong, even with Loney fading and Ethier never really solving his platoon problem — all three had good MLB careers. I feel like we have quite a few hitters coming up in the same ilk and hopefully this time we put it all together. We already have Seager, Bellinger and Pederson, and coming up it’s Verdugo, Calhoun and DJ Peters. What intrigues me a lot is Ruiz, a catcher, who’s somehow batting .311 as a 19 year old. (Or maybe our next Kemp is really Jeren Kendall…)

    Yadier Alverez – while still a top prospect his star seems to have faded a bit, perhaps only in the short term. I think a couple of factors play here. First, virtually all of the pitching prospects we have traded have not exploded onto the scene like Bellinger (on the other hand the some of our other prospects like Peraza and Schebler have done well so I think the overall talent evaluation is just what it is, hit and miss). Second I think Urias injury has reminded everyone that pitchres break. So overall there is plenty of ice water thrown on the overall Dodgers pitching prospects vibe, compared to the last two years, who affect the tradeabilty of the rest of our pitching prospects. Just reading between the lines, I don’t think Alvarez has “regressed”, it’s just that people are not as hyped as last year.

    Buehler, Sborz and Sheffield – the foregoing aside, Buehler is still very high on everyone’s lists, perhaps signalling that he “has it”. On the other hand, it strike me that Sborz and Sheffield have more fundamental problems than just overall vibe. Will one or both go the way of Chris Anderson?

    Dennis Santana. This name really jumps out. He is the biggest gainer and even leapfrogged Mitchell White on David Hood’s list – which is amazing considering what we know about White (White is number 4 on Dustin Nosler’s list, but even on Nosler’s list Santana had a huge jump). It would be interesting to see how MLB and the national lists rank Santana.

    With so much TV money, and with Roberts being a Lasorda-type manager, I really hope we are entering into another Lasorda-type era of Dodger baseball!!

    1. YF

      I was never high on Dozier for the exact same reason you weren’t.

      I don’t think it is fun to watch a hitter strike out or walk, or hit an occasional HR.

      And we didn’t need another of those type of hitters, in our line up, like you said.

      I am not high on Logan yet, because he has basically been mostly a singles hitter, that strikes out way to much, for a singles hitter.

      But I am glad he has caught up, and hopefully he will provide more power, and hit righties better, because he is only hitting 183 against righties this year!

      Because he is not hitting well against righties at all, but it is good to have some help against lefties, in this line up.

      And Logan is a better defensive player that Howie was, at that time in his career.

  2. Dodgers prospects had a hand in the PCL’s victory over the International League in the AAA all star game. Font started and went a scoreless 1 inning. Willie Calhoun was 2-3 with 2 doubles and an RBI, Madison Younginer was the winning pitcher. Verdugo was 0-2. Howie did a good job as a Dodger and moved to LF last year, so he was a team guy. But the FO obviously felt he was no longer ready for prime time. It has taken Forsythe a while to warm up the old engine, but it is humming now. I have looked at the stats in the minors a lot in the last couple of days, and there is really no starter down there that stands out. Masterson, a retread leads OKC in wins. The relievers seem to be having decent seasons, Broussard really stands out. But none of the hyped guys are burning up the leagues.

    1. Th MLB listing came out. Alvarez had a big drop while Buehler is now a top 20. Verdugo and Calhoun advanced a few spots.

      While Verdugo may be in a slump, he’s “tearing it up” in my book, and showing a lot more consistency than Pederson and Bellinger did. I think both Verdugo and Calhoun will be great MLB hitters, after seeing Pederson and Bellinger, but what do I know.

  3. What’s happening in Dodgerville?

    Any predictions on trade acquisitions?

    JD Martinez doens’t make a lot of sense to me, but that rumor exists. Seems a Kershaw compadre would be priority #1. And some pen help. Brad Hand? Justin Wilson?

  4. I could stand to see Stanton in a Dodger uniform. If it took Puig, Joc, Calhoun, Forsythe, Kazmir, SVS, Gutierrez, and maybe Agon to make it happen, so be it.

    1. So be it? Not to be critical but you act like that is a lot.

      Kazmir, Gonzalez, SVS, Gutierrez have negative value.
      Forsythe, Calhoun & Joc have little value.
      Puig has slight value.

      You want Stanton (IF I’m the Marlins GM)…..it would take Puig, Alvarez, Diaz & Sierra. I could possibly be convinced to make the deal w/o Sierra but that’s what it would take.

      The Dodgers are stuck with Gonzalez, Kazmir & Gutierrez. Calhoun needs to be traded to an AL team.

      1. Chili

        I don’t think Stanton is playing up to that contract, and that is a big long contract, to take on, so they might take one of our bad contracts and some of our good prospects, but I wouldn’t trade for any Marlin right now, the Marlins are going to want to much!

        1. Really? You do not think Stanton is playing up to that contract.
          So leading the NL in home runs with 26 and OPS’ing at .933 is ‘average.’
          Wow.

          He’s only on pace to hit somewhere north of 45 home runs and 100 RBI’s. Currently has a 2.7 WAR. He is/has more then enough to justify his monies (by baseball standards.)

          Long term is another issue. But would he give the Dodgers a better chance of winning THIS year? If you say no, then do not trade for him.

          But if you are going to be critical of every player making big bucks long term and performing well throughout the length of their contracts, well then the Dodgers had better not sign any high dollar star players and that includes Kershaw.

          1. I don’t think you ever make decisions just thinking about “this year.”

            The playoffs are way too random.

            Stanton’s contract has Ryan Howard written all over it to me.

          2. Chili

            I must admitt Stanton is having a good year.

            But for having such an Adonis of a body, he has trouble staying on the field, and that is why wouldn’t want to be stuck, with his long contract!

            And Stanton is not going to hit like this, for the next nine years, and his contract is back loaded!

          3. Random. Playoffs are random. I so disagree with that. Then why would anyone trade any prospects for players that can help them that CURRENT season.

            Why did the Royals trade prospects for Zobrist and Cueto?
            Why did Theo trade his top prospect for Chapman?

            By your account they were both idiots.

            It’s called VISION.
            Just so you know that is the last 2 World Champs.

            Randomness would suggest do nothing and let things fall where they will. That is a cop out and any executive making a statement along those lines should not be in that profession. That is cya statement. You (and others) buy it. I don’t.

          4. Chili,

            Did you read something that I didn’t write and reply to that?

            You wrote:
            —–Why did the Royals trade prospects for Zobrist and Cueto?
            —–Why did Theo trade his top prospect for Chapman?
            —– By your account they were both idiots.

            Where in the world did I write that?

            I’m on record as liking the Hill trade from last year which,IMO, is very analogous to the Chapman trade. In none of those trades was any asset like Stanton and his contract involved.

            Then you wrote:
            —-Randomness would suggest do nothing and let things fall where
            —- they will.

            And I have no idea how you get from your first three words to your final seven.

      2. The purpose of Gonzalez, Kazmir & Gutierrez in the equation is to negate Stanton’s huge contract somewhat, make it acceptable to the Dodger owners. Throw in Kike and Hatcher??? Marlin ownership isn’t interested in fair trade, they just want to get Stanton’s contract off their books so they can sell the club. Gutierrez goes off the books this September, Kazmir and Agon next season. Stanton’s contract runs a long time. The trade would suit their purposes.
        (I expected some static for including Agon in that deal)

        1. But if I’m the Marlins I’m not taking ‘dead weight’ back to move his contract. The Dodgers are not the only team that can take on Stanton’s contract. If the Dodgers aren’t going to give up quality prospects…..one of the following will (Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, Nationals, Mets, Rangers or Giants.) Any (2) of a teams top 5 prospects would be better then the above proposed Dodgers trade.

          Sometimes I’m amazed as to how people think that other teams would be interested in injury prone, non producing, overpaid aging players. THEY ARE NOT. If you do not want them on your team, they do not want them on their team.

          Most all trades include prospects these days. A veteran player(s) for prospect(s). You either part with prospects or don’t make deals to improve the ball club therefore improving the chances of winning it all this year.

          The Cubs farm system was rated below the Dodgers farm system going into last season. The Cubs traded one of their top prospects for a rental, Chapman. That wasn’t done to get into the playoffs as that was a given. That trade was done to win it all.

        2. Now here we are again. Theo making moves. This time to jump start his team and solidify his rotation. His pitchers worked hard and long last year (that’s what happens to every team that wins the title.) A lot of quality stressful pitches/innings. Quintana gives them a fresh arm compare to their other 4 starters. Theo parted with 4 prospects for 1 Starting Pitcher. That is a baseball executive that would rather have a bird in hand then 3 in the bush. How many times has FAZ squander opportunities to pick up someone of real value?

          FAZ has been saved by Bellinger. Once again (a Coletti/White draft pick) is bailing out the great baseball masters. Prior to April 25th the Dodgers were 9-11 and couldn’t hit a lick. Since April 25th they have gone 52-18 (.743 winning %). What happened on April 25th? Cody Bellinger. He has ignited the team and lit a fire under a few of the players (not wanting to be shown up by a rookie.)

          In my opinion if the Dodgers are going to ‘at least’ advance to the World Series they will need to make a major move to bolster the current roster. I just do not think there is enough top tier starting pitching (and that is considering every one makes it to the finish line of which I doubt) and the lineup is still predominantly an all or nothing lineup. In the playoffs, good pitching stops good hitting. If you do not mfg runs you will not win.

  5. An excerpt from the article:
    ‘It may turn out to be the boldest move any team makes before the July 31 non-waivers trade deadline, executed by the gutsiest executive in the game to pull it off.’

    That would be the 3 time World Champion executive Theo Epstein. Up to his tricks again. He’s not hoarding his prospects.

    1. Theo is one of those GM’s who is not afraid to pull the trigger on a block buster. It has been a while since the Dodgers have had a GM do the same. Oh, they make trades and one was a 13 player deal, and the traded popular players like Kemp and Gordon. But a trade for an actual star player……not happening on FAZ’s watch………….at least so far. Last time it was done that I remember was the deal for Manny…….and then when they traded for Hanley.

  6. First off, you can forget getting Stanton. That team is in the process of being sold, and it’s biggest asset is Stanton. According to multiple sources the Dodgers are targeting pitching, not hitters. A LH reliever is #1 on the list with Wilson, Hand and Watson being on the radar. There is also a rumor floating that they are interested in Ryan Madson, yeah that Madson, the exe Phillie. Manfred upset about the way the 10 day DL is being used. Expect a rules tweak next year. If Quintana brought 4 prospects, just think what I would cost for Darvish or Cole or even Archer.

      1. yeah he might be that, but he is also the one player on that team who puts butts in the seats. But I would venture this Jonah. He is not the kind of player FAZ targets, his contract is huge, he would take a ransom to acquire. Just not in FAZ’s DNA to trade for that kind of guy, so to me, it is pure fantasy to even suggest they would consider it. Colletti might have, or even Claire. But Zaidi and Friedman are different cats. Plus, why screw up the chemistry of this team? A reliever or even another starter is not going to do that.

        1. You are right but the whole point of baseball blogs is fantasy, wishing for, complaining about. You eliminate that, there’s no point in even having a blog. There are plenty of sites that report the news, they even get paid for it….

  7. Another couple of rumors have surfaced. Dodgers according to ESPN have contacted the Orioles about Zack Britton. Kenley Jansen was excited about that. He said he would love to see him a Dodger. Britton is the O’s closer. Also another rumor floating, if Verdugo is called up he would become the regular LF. making Taylor the supersub and Kike persona non grata.

    1. Michael

      Having Britton and Kenley closing down games, would be comparable to Miller, and Chapman, but I think Kenley is better then Chapman now.

      1. I agree. Chapman has lightning in his arm, but sometimes he loses concentration and is all over the place.

      1. I read that. Zaidi said the other day that he doubted the Dodgers would trade Verdugo. Padres are asking for something they are not going to get. That’s why I think Britton and Watson are the real targets because Wilson and Hand are going to cost more.

    2. Britton would be ideal. I am getting the same reaction as Jensen.

      A lefty sinkerball pitcher between Baez/Dayton/Morrow in the 7th, and Jensen in the 9th? I could not have drawn this up better and I’ve been saying for a long time that we needed a sinker ball reliever in between our flyball pitchers.

      And this is the year to do this deal. Britton’s got another arbitration year so he takes us into our long awaited 2018 where all the contract deadweight comes off the books. Best of all, outside of Buehler we have plenty of trade pieces and no more untouchables.

      Eric Stephen at TrueBlueLA has a nice piece on what it might take, and he uses the Chapman trade as a comp, which is indeed an excellent comp.

      Stephens has a package of Alvarez or Verdugo, plus Stripling or Stewart, plus others (likely Calhoun).

      I would do that deal in a hearbeat, but I don’t know if the Orioles would take that. Looking again at the Orioles and where they are, they actually have another closer in waiting, Brad Brach, but they need MLB-ready starting pitching and more hitting, particularly in LF and maybe a LH platoon DH bat next to Trumbo. If I were the Orioles I would take 2 MLB ready pitchers, Verdugo over Alvarez, young bats and a young catcher. All of this lines up well with the Dodgers.

      Britton for Verdugo, Calhoun, Stripling, Ryu, Kike and Barnes (or Farmer who is batting .308/.353/.503 at OKC). Inclusion of Barnes or Farmer will close the deal for us. Orioles will be much improved and we won’t miss any of our parts. I’d also do Verdugo and Alvarez, but in that case I’d want to unload someone like Kazmir and take back Stripling from the deal.

      And Britton has been on a few DL stints already this year with forearm strain, so this fits right into the FAZ MO (sorry couldn’t resist – but on the other hand the Orioles may be a bit concerned so more willing to unload him).

      I think this deal will get done.

      1. I am not trading Barnes. Right now he is the best bat on the bench. 5 guys for a reliever? That’s insane. Especially when you are trading two of your top prospects. Who ever thought that up is loony tunes. The Sox got 4 guys for a starter. O’s would not want Ryu, he is on the DL anyway. You trade Stripling you weaken the BP because your long man is basically a rookie (Stewart).

        1. Right on. That sounds like the crazy trades Bumsrap proposed, our whole farm system for one guy. In my book, I’d give one sub off the 25 man roster and one prospect not named Verdugo.. Otherwise, we can get by without help, we have our own help on the farm.

          1. Look at it this way Yueh, We did not trade that much for Hill AND Reddick. The A’s got 3 players for those 2. You want to trade 5 guys for 1, 2 that are presently in the majors and 3 minor leaguers including the top two hitting prospects and the best pitcher? That’s insane and FAZ should be hung by their nuts if they do a deal that dumb. You might not be high on the prospects, but a lot of other teams hole them in high value, Detroit and San Diego for sure, and I for one am not sure I want to trade my best hitter in the minors to a division rival. They go to the AL they do not come back and haunt you as much. But 5 players for a relief pitcher who has had arm trouble this year is a high price to pay, and I think common sense prevails and they don’t do something like that.

  8. Marlins web site names guys like Prado, Osuna and Phelps as the most likely players to be moved. The sale of the team is complicating any player movement. So it remains to be seen who goes on the block. As per usual, it is my humble opinion that FAZ might make a deal, but not for an ace starter or a major impact bat. Sorry gang, that is not their MO. I do see them bolstering the bullpen. But I do not think they want to pay the price for a top notch starter.

  9. Sorry Scott. Between Howie and Logan, I think Howie was a far superior player, both offensively and defensively.

    Two caveats: one I base that on what I hear on the radio and two Howie wasn’t playing 2B last year. He was in LF. Just me being picky.

    I don’t think a .249 2B is a bad thing, particularly when 1B and SS and 3B are carrying the load. The only thing I would consider brilliant, is that after all the Dozier discussions, the minor league depth, the possible trade chips, in the end it was a 1 for 1 trade Foresythe for one minor league pitcher.

  10. Back to Forsythe vs Kendrick. I like Forsythe more than Kendrick because of his ability to play 3rd base to rest Turner.

    Of course the other option is to have Seager play 3rd once in a while and have Taylor give some looks at short. But I think Forsythe at third gives us a better look with Seager at SS and Utley at second.

    We just need to find ways to keep Turner fresh and in the lineup come October.

    1. Forsythe will put up more WAR than did Kendrick and that is the only thing that matters. I don’t think Howie was happy here. His production fell off the table after his arrival – from 5.4 to 1.1. He looks better this year. If he can remain healthy he will produce more in Philly than he did here.

      Britton would be an excellent piece. The value of late game relievers has gone way up in the last few years. It will take a load of prospects to get him. Hopefully only 3 good ones. Verdugo, Calhoun and an arm is a very decent offer. Maybe I’m being naive but everyday Major League players, which Verdugo and Calhoun surely will be, have more value in my world than relievers. 2 of them, plus a good young arm, should be enough. But I bet it won’t be.

      Good posts here today. Nice to see Chili back.

  11. Thanks Tremor. I wasn’t gone long.

    Been reading some about Miami trading Stanton. It’s not clear how new ownership would view him. Yeah, he’s a star, but it’s not like attendance would fall all that much if he left. The only thing that would help put b.i.s. is winning. How do they accomplish that with so much capital outlay going to him? I think the best way to do it is to start over. Other teams will be interested in Stanton. He’s in his prime now and there are some parks that he would make look really small. His contract is made nuts only by the length of it. Years 35-38 might be an issue, but not as much if he’s DHing in a band box at that time. He’s 27, doesn’t make $30 million until he is 33. With Cost per WAR approaching $8mm, he could earn his money in the right situation. And at this time, most people are saying teams won’t have to give up that much. It will likely just be a salary dump. Where is the fit? I’m not thinking LA. I’m thinking AL.

    1. Badger

      We did miss you.

      That is a good point about Stanton going to an American League team, so later in his contract he can just DH.

      He isn’t terribke on defense, but almost anything someone ages, they are not as good on defense.

  12. Stanton hmmm, has anyone else noticed a change in his personality lately (boiling over arrogance).? I don’t watch him a lot but when I do see him, he also comes across that he is better than anyone else in the room (not talking about baseball either). My wife saw him being interviewed the other night and exclaimed “Wow is that guy full of himself!”

    I like the mix of players we have on the club now and would hate to upset that chemistry (what’s wrong with the best record in baseball?) This team can win in the regular season and in the post season, no need to screw up a good thing. The biggest need I see the team having is discarding some seriously unreliable pitchers in the pen before the post season arrives, namely Hatcher, Romo, Avilan, those guys exiting would be a good start to going all the way this season.

  13. Now aren’t we all glad that FAZ has to make that decision and not us? Then we get to say how he was wrong. We got the best seats in the house….

    1. Yeah, good point. And in looking back at my own criticism of the deadline moves of ’15 of ’16, at risk of sounding full of myself, I was right. And I wasn’t the only one.

      This team reminds me very much of Division winning teams we’ve had in the past 4 years. Good, but not great. And I say that only because of my lack of full confidence in this starting rotation. And of course, I agree 100% with True’s recent suggestion regarding the bullpen. With our fragile SP lineup, we want 5 horses down there. All that said, I remain confident this is another Division winner. The other good teams that are our post season competition, namely the Cubs and the Nationals, will surely do what is needed to prepare for the September/October season. And both those organizations are as smart as we are.

        1. Probably not. They would have made a move before the team traveled to Miami. And the AAA team is also just restarting it’s schedule. If any moves are made they will most likely be after this weekend.

      1. Badger

        I am sure you saw that the Cubs got them a starter already, and he will be on the Cubs, two years after this year.

        The Nats whole bullpen is suppose to be a mess right now, so they need more then just a closer.

        1. Yeah, I see that reflected in the team stats MJ. They are last in NL in ERA. But they are also first in least innings pitched and 9th in saves. That tells me they might be able to clean that up with a couple of moves.

  14. Something worth considering – as Walker Buehler’s innings add up, in an effort to limit them we might audition him for Romo/Hatcher’s spot.

  15. The RedSox just DFAed the Panda. Maybe FAZ will pick him up…… Just pulling your chain…. My own best guess is the Giants will sign him, they actually like him!

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