Sep 7, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Los Angeles Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick (47) celebrates his triple in the fifth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Angels are likely to trade either second baseman Howie Kendrick or third baseman David Freese to address their pitching needs. Unless the A’s decide to trade Josh Donaldson, Kendrick is clearly the better fit of the two for Oakland.
Kendrick has been a model of consistency for the Halos in his 9-year tenure in Anaheim, as shown by his career slash line of .292/.332/.424. He has also never hit under .279 in any season.The Angels believe he is expendable because of their acquisition last year of infielder Gordon Beckham, who hit a respectable .268 down the stretch.
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The A’s clearly have a need for offensive production from the middle infield, especially considering the fact that shortstop Jed Lowrie could leave via free agency. Eric Sogard provided solid defense at both second base and shortstop, but his offense leaves something to be desired.
At 30 years old, Kendrick is in the prime of his career, coming off of a season where he hit .293/.347/.397, stole 14 bases and accumulated 1.4 dWAR. Those numbers would make him by far the best overall middle infielder on the A’s.
Kendrick is entering the final year of his contract, in which he is owed 9.5 million dollars—a good value for his production. The problem is that the A’s normally do not like to part with too much talent for a rental player. However in this case, the A’s have a lot of solid pitchers, so a deal centered around someone like Drew Pomeranz could work for both teams.
While Kendrick is a solid player, he’s not going to be enough to haul in a top-tier prospect from another team. If the Angels haven’t realized this yet, they will soon, and will target someone like Pomeranz or A.J. Griffin instead.
Sometimes it’s awkward to make trades within a division, but the A’s have traded with the Angels before (thanks for Alberto Callaspo) and have traded with every team in the AL west sometime in the last two years.
This is just a rumor, but it seems like these two teams could work out a deal to fit both of their biggest needs.