It’s no secret that the main goal of the Los Angeles Angels’ offseason has been, and continues to be, adding offense. They have been tied to names like Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton, and Alex Gordon, yet at the same time, owner Arte Moreno continues to insist that they won’t exceed the luxury tax.
Signing either Cespedes, Upton, or Gordon would obviously fill the hole in left field, and provide a major boost in the lineup, but at a steep cost. A much cheaper option to add offense for the Angels, is to bring back long-time Angel Howie Kendrick.
Kendrick was drafted by the Angels in 2002 and made his MLB debut in 2006. He would play with the Halos until 2015, when he was traded to the Dodgers. Howie was always a very consistent player for Mike Scioscia’s club, hitting above .280 every year accept 2010, when he hit .279. He was a big part of their offense all those years, and he’s the type of hitter the Angels seemed to lack in their lineup in 2015.
Another factor that makes Kendrick attractive to the Angels is that there aren’t many teams that seem to be pursuing him. The Nationals were a possible landing spot, before they signed Daniel Murphy. The Diamondbacks are a possibility, but recently reports came out that Dave Stewart does not want to give up another draft pick. There really aren’t any other teams linked to Kendrick besides the Angels being named as a possibility.
Because his demand his not very high, there is a good chance the Angels could get their former second baseman back on a discount. They would have to give up a draft pick in a deal with Kendrick, which would probably bring his price down a bit. He figures to get about two or three years, with an average salary of about $10 million. The Halos are about $4 million under the luxury tax threshold, and if there goal remains to stay under it, they could still do it, even if they sign Kendrick. They could off load some salary by trading C.J. Wilson, who is owed $20 million next season. Or by trading Hector Santiago, who is owed around $5 million next year. If the Angels signed Howie Kendrick, they could, more likely than not, find a way to avoid going over the luxury tax threshold. By signing a premier outfielder, they would probably not be able to.
Adding Kendrick to play second base would probably mean that there will be no more additions to left field (unless Moreno changes his mind and decides to exceed the luxury tax). Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry would likely make a platoon, which doesn’t sound great, but is a good improvement over the Angels left fielders in 2015 that put up a horrible .260 OBP. Here is the Angels potential lineup with an addition of Howie Kendrick.
- 3B Yunel Escobar
- RF Kole Calhoun
- CF Mike Trout
- DH Albert Pujols
- 2B Howie Kendrick
- LF Daniel Nava/Craig Gentry
- 1B C.J. Cron
- SS Andrelton Simmons
- C Geovany Soto/Carlos Perez
Adding Howie Kendrick gives the Angels much-needed protection for Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, it pushes everyone back in the order, allowing C.J. Cron to add some power to the mid-bottom of the order, and it adds a guy to the order that is not going to strike out very much, put the ball in play, and hit close to, or at .300. He is also a significant defensive upgrade over the Angels current second basemen, Johnny Giavotella. Adding onto the good things Kendrick would bring to the Angels, is the familiarity with the organization. Mike Scoscia knows him very well, he is already familiar with plenty of players on the Angels, and he knows the ballpark very well.Howie Kendrick is the kind of player Billy Eppler targets, and he would be a great sign that would also help the Angels stay under the luxury tax threshold.