Dodgers Dugout: Should Howie Kendrick return?

Dodgers Dugout: Should Howie Kendrick return?

Hi, welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, wondering if there is a way for the MLB to arrange for the Dodgers to play Arizona in the playoffs.

Underrated

I haven’t written much about Howie Kendrick yet, and that seems fitting because he has always been one of the most underappreciated players in the league. He drove in all three runs of Tuesday’s 3-1 victory over Arizona, and drove in the winning run in Wednesday’s 7-6 victory. He has 19 extra-base hits and is third on the team with 28 RBIs. I’d still rather have him than Dee Gordon, even with Gordon leading the league in hitting. If you adjust for ballparks and consider on-base percentage, slugging and defense, Kendrick is having a better year.

More on Howie

Kendrick is in the final year of a four-year, $33.5-million deal he signed with the Angels before the 2012 season. So what to do with him after the season? He will be 32 and just exiting his prime years. Do you try to sign him or let him walk? The main candidate to replace him would be Alex Guerrero, but Guerrero is horrible on defense and the Dodgers’ front office makes defense a priority. So what to do? (By the way, Steve Dilbeck has a great look at Guerrero here.)

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Trade bait

Don’t be surprised to see the Dodgers use Guerrero as their main trading chip to acquire a pitcher. Most teams want Corey Seager or Julio Urias in a deal, but the Dodgers would be foolish to give up either of them. Guerrero is at peak trade value right now, and his batting is beginning to slide. He is hitting only .227 in June and slugging below .500. The Dodgers will have to give up something to get a pitcher, and Guerrero would be the best guy to give up. You can then either try to re-sign Kendrick after the season, sign a different free agent, or slide Justin Turner over the second. An infield of Adrian Gonzalez, Turner, Seager and Hector Olivera does not sound too shabby.

Speaking of Turner

He has been sidelined by a bruised knee and has not played since June 8, meaning more playing time for Alberto Callaspo, who hits about as well as you or I do.  If only the Dodgers had a guy on their bench who was Gold Glove caliber, a great teammate and a clutch hitter who could fill in at a time like this. Someone like, oh, I don’t know, Juan Uribe.

More on Turner

Jon Weisman of the Dodgers provides an interesting stat about Turner on his Dodgers Insider blog. It’s worth a read.

Tough stretch

The Dodgers have only five more home games this month: two against Texas and three against the Giants. They have 14 road games, including four against the surging Chicago Cubs. This will be the next test for the team, which, despite what seems to be an erratic season, still has the third-best record in baseball.

Draft recap

Of the 42 players the Dodgers selected in the draft, 25 of them were pitchers. We won’t really know how well they did for a few years, but most experts say the Dodgers and Houston Astros had the best drafts.  Here’s one example.

She’ll be back

Thursday was quite the whirlwind day for Dodger Stadium organist Nancy Bea Hefley. First, she announced on Facebook that she was retiring after the season because she felt that the Dodgers didn’t appreciate her. One phone call from the Dodgers later, she announced she would be back and had been given a lifetime contract by the team. That’s good; now let’s hope the Dodgers let her play more often during games. Bill Plaschke has all the details here.

And finally

Adrian Gonzalez dropped to second in the latest release of All-Star game vote totals. Gonzalez deserves to start, so do your part and go vote for him here.

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