With the trade deadline three weeks away and a little less than half of the games remaining on the 2015 schedule, Ken Rosenthal got a head start on the Hot Stove Season.
Rosenthal reported earlier this week that veteran infielder Howie Kendrick is expected to be among the free agents the Cubs consider signing in the off-season.
Rosenthal indicated Joe Maddon’s relationship with Kendrick from their days together in the Angels’ organization as one of the reasons the Cubs will be in the mix for him this winter.
Rosenthal pointed to the possibility of Howie Kendrick playing second base for the Cubs which would allow the Cubs to trade Starlin Castro and move Addison Russell to shortstop. Rosenthal indicated Javier Baez could play third base or fill a super-utility role. And if Baez could handle third, the Cubs would move Kris Bryant to left field.
Howie Kendrick figures to garner a lot of attention this winter. Rosenthal mentions the Angels, Dodgers and Yankees, along with the Cubs, as a few of the teams that could be involved in the free agent process with the veteran second baseman.
Howie Kendrick turns 32 in a couple of days (July 12) and he is finishing out the four-year extension he signed with the Angels in January 2012. Kendrick and the Angels avoided arbitration with a four-year, $33.5 million contract. Kendrick is being paid $9.5 million this year.
In 80 games with the Dodgers this season, Kendrick batted .297/.348/.428 with 16 doubles, two triples and seven home runs for a .776 OPS. Kendrick is producing near his career averages.
Howie Kendrick has been very consistent throughout his career. And he doesn’t seem to be playing for his next contract in his walk year. Kendrick has an excellent reputation as a clubhouse leader and teammate.
Rosenthal’s report is extremely premature. And it is really difficult to think about the off-season with the Cubs being competitive this year. The Cubs could go several different ways between now and the end of the season which would obviously impact any plans the front office many have for the off-season. It is interesting that a team that is believed to be looking for left handed bats to help balance out the lineup would be linked to a right handed hitting infielder.
The Cubs are expected to be in the mix for one of the top of the rotation starters this winter, unless the front office is able to pry LHP Cole Hamels from the Phillies. LHP David Price is believed to be at the top of the Cubs’ list of free agent pitchers with RHP Jordan Zimmermann a close second. Recent reports have used the word ‘covet’ when linking the Cubs to David Price.