Dodgers make major moves, acquire Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick
The Dodgers went into the third day of baseball’s winter meetings with no shortstop and Dee Gordon at second base.
Three trades later, their middle infield consisted of Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick. Gordon and Dan Haren were Miami Marlins. By the end of the frantic day, the Dodgers were also moving toward a four-year deal with free-agent pitcher Brandon McCarthy.
Andrew Friedman, the new president of baseball operations, is expected to continue the reconstruction of the 94-win team by trading one or more of the Dodgers’ high-priced veteran outfielders: Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford.
The furious activity started with the Dodgers reaching an agreement to acquire Rollins from the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are believed to be receiving a couple of minor league pitchers in the deal, which hasn’t been officially announced.
The most valuable player of the National League in 2007, Rollins will step into the shortstop position vacated by Hanley Ramirez, who signed a four-year, $88-million contract with the Boston Red Sox.
Rollins has one year remaining on his contract, at $11 million. He figures to serve as a place holder until 20-year-old top prospect Corey Seager is determined to be ready to play in the major leagues.
Rollins remains an above-average defender. He batted only .243 last season, but hit 17 home runs and stole 28 bases.
“He makes up for the half a step he’s lost with his knowledge of how to play guys,” Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa said. “He has great hands and a quick release.”
Bowa said the Dodgers would benefit from the presence of Rollins, who won a World Series with the Phillies in 2008.
“He likes to be up in crucial situations,” Bowa said. “You know that rivalry between the Giants and the Dodgers? He’ll dial it up a notch for that. He’s a very confident individual.”
With Rollins in the fold, the Dodgers went on to extract a four-player bounty from the Marlins in exchange for Gordon, Haren, infielder Miguel Rojas and cash considerations or a player to be named later.
The Marlins sent the Dodgers top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney, hard-throwing reliever Chris Hatcher, utility man Enrique Hernandez, and minor league catcher Austin Barnes.
Later in the day, Heaney was traded to the Angels for Kendrick.
Like Rollins, the 31-year-old Kendrick will be a free agent at the end of the upcoming season. Kendrick is under contract next year for $9.5 million.
Kendrick is considered a better hitter than Gordon. Kendrick batted .293 with seven home runs and 75 runs batted in.
The trade of Gordon was an indication the Dodgers believed the 26-year-old’s value had peaked. The fleet-footed Gordon had a breakout season this year, as he made the All-Star team and led the major leagues with 64 steals and 12 triples.
However, there were disconcerting signs late in the season. Gordon drew only four walks in 57 games after the All-Star break, a period over which his on-base percentage was a disappointing .300.
The Dodgers will cover the salaries of Gordon and Haren. Gordon is expected to earn more than $2 million in the arbitration process while Haren is guaranteed $10 million.
Haren, who lives in Irvine, had previously said he would retire if traded to a team other than the Angels.
Haren issued a statement Wednesday night, part of which read: “My strong desire to remain in southern California has been well-documented. I will have to evaluate my options carefully before making any decisions.”
Haren’s place in the rotation is expected to be taken by McCarthy, who has pitched for five teams over nine seasons. He has a career record of 52-65 and earned-run average of 4.09.
McCarthy, 31, split last season between the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees. In 14 starts with the Yankees, with whom he finished the season, McCarthy was 7-5 with a 2.89 ERA.
If finalized, McCarthy’s deal with the Dodgers would be worth $48 million, FoxSports.com reported.
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