howie kendrick dodgersA team re-signs a former player who’d entered free agency looking like a promising bet to get a healthy three or four-year deal, but was ultimately dragged down by draft pick compensation, despite the fact that the team might have to rotate that player in and out of the lineup thanks to other additions.

No, I’m not talking about those persistent Cubs-Dexter Fowler rumors, I’m talking about the Dodgers and Howie Kendrick, who are reportedly re-upping on a two-year deal.

The 32-year-old Kendrick was solid offensively at second base for the Dodgers last year, though his defensive metrics slipped, and he played in just 117 games. Having turned down a qualifying offer, Kendrick found the market for his services surprisingly limited – perhaps teams feared his decline would continue, and the bat would no longer be sufficient to offset the defense – and now he comes back on what figures to be a very reasonable deal for the Dodgers.



At second base, the Dodgers theoretically already had Chase Utley, for whom they traded last season and then re-signed, as well as utility man Enrique Hernandez.

Kendrick, then, figures to be worked into a rotation at second base going forward, perhaps even getting the bulk of the starts. But now the Dodgers have very solid depth in the infield and outfield, and I think this move makes them slightly more unnerving for 2016, both in the NL West, and in the overall playoff picture. Folks have been sleeping on the Dodgers because they underwhelmed in the playoffs for a couple years and then lost Zack Greinke, but they’ve got incredible quality depth all over, including now in the rotation after a series of offseason additions.

To me, even after considering the moves by the Giants and Diamondbacks, the Dodgers remain the favorite out West, and the second best on-paper team behind only the Cubs. And, if I’m being honest, because of the depth – especially impact young talent at AAA, available and ready – I could make an argument that the Dodgers are now right there with the Cubs. I won’t make it. But I probably could.



UPDATE: What a great deal for the Dodgers, who won’t get a draft pick now, but still:


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